Skelmersdale regeneration faces legal challenge

A proposed development in Skelmersdale which promised 50,000 sq ft each of retail space and leisure facilities and to create as many as 500 jobs will be challenged in court by a rival developer.

LCP is forging ahead with its own plans for a £4m cinema and restaurant scheme at the centre, and says it has no option but to seek legal redress to safeguard both the town centre and the mall’s future.

the granting of planning consent to St Modwen for a competing scheme in the town centre

The letter – a pre-action protocol – identifies the specific legal grounds on which it disputes the planning consent and seeks to establish if the council can address them to avoid litigation.

Jo Salmon, LCP’s retail portfolio manager, said they were left with no option but to take this action because legal counsel believes the consent for the St Modwen scheme is unlawful, unenforceable and ineffective.

“We are challenging the scheme on a number of legal and technical points and it is our hope that the council can rectify these issues but if that is not possible, then we have no choice but to apply to the courts for judicial review.”

“The council’s consultants have pointed out that this would represent a severe blow to the centre particularly given the recent closures, which have resulted in further vacant units,” added Jo.

"The shopping centre, which houses more than 70 shops including well-known high street names and numerous independent businesses, will also undergo significant improvements and will bring to the town the leisure so desperately needed while improving the retail offer in the centre," Jo added.

“If the competing scheme was to go ahead, there will no new retailers coming to the town, just relocation of our existing stores, which will lead to fewer shoppers in the centre, further weakening of the town’s core, more vacant units and less choice for customers. “This would be detrimental to the town, the businesses, the employees and our shoppers. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

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