Monday, March 22, 2021

Regeneration Plan on track for Skelmersdale Town Centre

One of our key priorities is for the towns within our Borough to be the vibrant and prosperous hearts of our communities. To this end, we are leading on the regeneration of Skelmersdale, including delivering a new town centre, and working on plans for the Ormskirk Eastern Gateway.

Our ambitions for Skelmersdale can only be realised by commissioning a comprehensive Regeneration Plan for the town centre which shows a detailed understanding of the physical characteristics and constraints of the potential development sites.

We can now make significant progress with our major new plan for Skelmersdale thanks to £285,000 of funding from the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, which has recently been established by Lancashire County Council to support projects which will help the local economy recover following the Covid-19 pandemic.

This project, for which funding has been agreed in principle, supports the strategic objectives of the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund to deliver business cases and site preparation studies which will help to unlock future investment.

The Regeneration Plan will be drawn up with involvement from a series of partner organisations, including Lancashire County Council. It will update plans for the town centre given so much has changed since the original Town Centre Masterplan in 2008, including:

  • considering updated proposals for Phase 2 of West Lancashire Borough Council's Town Centre development to link the western entrance of the Concourse Centre over to the West Lancashire College campus;
  • reflecting the plans for a new Rail Station on the former Skelmersdale College site at Westbank/Glenburn;
  • identifying how pedestrian and cycle linkages can be improved across the Tawd Valley to better link to the new Rail station and the Glenburn site to the main part of the town centre.

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: "We are constantly working to improve our towns for our communities and this funding is great news for our ambitions for Skelmersdsale.

"As Leader of the Council, and a resident of Skelmersdale, I'm passionate about the development of the Town Centre and the future of the Borough looks increasingly brighter as each step of these plans is taken."

Alongside the Regeneration Plan, some of the funding will be utilised to draw up a detailed masterplan for the site of the former Glenburn Sports College. A significant part of the site has been set aside for a new railway station for Skelmersdale and the masterplan will offer greater clarity around the best options for the rest of site and help to support the wider masterplan for Skelmersdale.

This work will outline a phased approach for the remainder of the site, including detailed work around site investigations, utilities, and costings for preferred development, resulting in an outlines business case setting out options for the land surrounding the railway station in order to be prepared for opportunities to bid for further funding to develop the site.

County Councillor Michael Green, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: "We have established the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund in recognition that we have an important role to play in helping Lancashire bounce back quickly from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The fund will provide immediate support to those areas of the economy hardest hit by the virus, as well as to invest in projects which have the greatest potential to deliver their full benefits in the medium to long term.

"The major scheme to build a railway station for Skelmersdale on the site of the former Glenburn High School is progressing well, with the results of the Strategic Outline Business Case due to be received in the coming months.

"Now is therefore a good time to begin looking in greater detail at development opportunities for the land surrounding the railway station, which will help to support and shape the overarching masterplan for the town.

"Carrying out the work to develop businesses cases and site preparation studies for this land will ensure we are well placed to attract further investment in the site at the earliest opportunity."

As well as the £285,000 of funding agreed from Lancashire County Council for this project, West Lancashire Borough Council has committed £50,000 of funding to the preparation of the Regeneration Plan. This includes the development of business cases to support proposals for funding for delivering the developments in the town centre.