West Lancashire Council has granted planning permission for St Modwen's long-waited regeneration of Skelmersdale town centre subject to the signing of a Section 106 agreement.
The £20m scheme includes a five-screen cinema complex and 26,000 sq ft of new restaurants and shops.
There would also be a 30,000 sq ft food store with parking, a petrol station, improved public spaces and improvements within the Tawd Valley. Taylor Young and BHB Chartered Architects are advising St Modwen.
The proposal is expected to create new links between the proposed development and existing elements of the town centre such as The Concourse shopping centre and West Lancashire College. A promenade is proposed to link the college campus with The Concourse and a new public square to enhance the setting around the existing Nye Bevan swimming pool and library. There are also plans for a new youth zone, which is part of a Lancashire County Council initiative that aims to provide more facilities for young people in the town.
Paul Batho, projects director at St Modwen, said: "The council's decision on the planning application brings the vision for the town centre one step closer in the process. The participation of the local community has really supported the efforts of the partners, who have worked hard to keep the plans alive throughout these challenging times. There is still a long way to go over the coming months but we will continue to work closely with West Lancashire Council and Homes & Communities Agency to develop plans for delivery of the scheme."
St Modwen will now begin marketing the retail and leisure space at the development.
St Modwen was selected in 2007 by West Lancashire Council and English Partnerships, which later became the HCA, to redevelop the 1960s New Town on a larger scale before the recession struck.
Batho added: "The obtaining of planning consent will help reinforce our existing discussions with potential end users of the retail and leisure space available and are looking to pre-let these properties over the coming months."