Wrangling to continue over rival Skem leisure projects

The owner of Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale has been granted permission to appeal a decision by the High Court, which found against it in a legal challenge over a rival scheme being delivered in the town by St Modwen.

Skelmersdale Limited Partnership, a joint venture between London & Cambridge Properties and Threadneedle Investment, applied to the Court of Appeal to seek to overturn a High Court judicial review finding made in January.

SLP was granted planning permission in 2014 for a £4m leisure scheme with restaurants and a 20,000 sq ft cinema at the Concourse Shopping Centre, along with a refurbishment. The partnership took legal action after West Lancashire Council gave approval to a 100,000 sq ft retail and leisure project by St Modwen, which LCP felt threatened the viability of the Concourse project.

St Modwen Skelmersdale

St Modwen’s approved scheme also includes a cinema, restaurants and shops

West Lancashire Council and the Homes & Communities Agency appointed St Modwen to redevelop the town centre in 2007. St Modwen drew up plans for a £350m development totalling 500,000 sq ft in 2008 but these were abandoned in the downturn.

Planning permission was granted in March 2015 for the smaller mixed-use development, including a Reel Cinema, shops, restaurants and bars.

Jo Salmon, retail portfolio manager for SLP, said: “We welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision for our appeal to be heard. We fully welcome and indeed want to play a role in bringing forward regeneration in Skelmersdale, but the current plans approved by West Lancashire Council for the town centre will put at risk hundreds of jobs at the Concourse Centre, as well as jeopardising the Centre’s future as a popular shopping destination.

“We are keen to work with West Lancashire Council and St Modwen as well as other development partners and urge them to come to the table to bring forward a masterplan for the entire Skelmersdale centre, which will benefit the whole community and safeguard the future of our tenants and their businesses. Collaborating with the council and other developers will also provide the opportunity to realise the broader vision for Skelmersdale and West Lancashire, creating a cohesive and integrated town centre offer.”

A date for the appeal is set to be confirmed in due course.

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