West Lancashire Borough Council has taken a major step forward with the exciting Ormskirk Town Centre Strategy with the £2.88 million acquisition of Wheatsheaf Walk, which includes the units on Wheatsheaf Walk, and several units fronting Burscough Street.
The 15 retail units, which include Wetherspoons’ Court Leet Pub and Greenhalgh’s bakery, went under the hammer with auctioneer’s Allsop on Monday. The purchase represents the Council’s largest ever investment in retail property.
Buying retail property if appropriate buildings come up at the right price is part of the Ormskirk Town Centre Strategy, which the Council works on with partners to ensure Ormskirk has an even brighter long-term future.
Purchasing this property will allow the Council to take strategic action as a landlord. The Council already successfully manages retail premises elsewhere in the Borough and will now be able to use its business contacts to try and bring new businesses to the town which complement and improve the existing retail and leisure offer and attract more visitors. Rental values on the property will also provide a financial return on the investment.
Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council and portfolio holder for Economic Regeneration, said: “West Lancashire Borough Council is an aspirational authority and this major investment shows our commitment to delivering the strategy to bring an even more vibrant future for Ormskirk Town Centre. Other councils, such as Chorley, have already seen the benefits of directly investing in their town centres, both in terms of demonstrating confidence in their centres as well as delivering an income stream that can be invested back into council services. Ormskirk already has low vacancies compared to other centres and this development is in an excellent location in one of the main gateways into the town.
“This purchase really puts the council in the driving seat to positively influence the future development of Ormskirk Town Centre and will provide a financial return for the Council and the residents of West Lancashire. We will continue to work with all our partners to further boost Ormskirk's appeal as a visitor destination.” Councillor Moran added: “The Council is also very much committed to investing in other town centres in the borough to make the whole of West Lancashire an even better place to live, work and enjoy leisure time.”
Wheatsheaf Walk consists of 15 retail units to provide a mix of retail and leisure accommodation arranged on ground and one upper floor. The purchase also includes a large part of the Wheatsheaf car park which will enable the Council to assume full control of the whole car park rather than it being in fragmented ownership.
Purchasing the units is also in line with the Council Plan, in which one of the key priorities for the authority is to be ambitious for the local economy, and to retain and grow jobs and encourage business and wealth.
For more information on the Ormskirk Town Centre Strategy please visit Regeneration.