SGP celebrates official opening of new Skelmersdale retail centre
Stephen George + Partners (SGP) was proud to attend the opening ceremony of the eagerly-awaited Tawd Valley Centre in Skelmersdale, part of the £19 million Skelmersdale town centre regeneration project.
Lyndon Johnson, Associate at SGP and Steven Clegg, Principal Architectural Technologist, were one of the official party, and looked on as The Mayor, Councillor Mrs. Marilyn Westley laid the final paving stone to mark the completion of the project. Other dignitaries included local MP Rosie Cooper and Leader of the West Lancashire Borough Council, Councillor Yvonne Gagen.
Councillor Yvonne Gagen: “This is a very important day, not just for the people of Skelmersdale, but West Lancashire as a whole. The new town centre development will bring economic and social benefits for the Borough’s communities long into the future and will greatly enhance the Borough’s appeal as a great place to live, work and invest, providing increased opportunities for many.”
“This development is a significant step towards a future where everyone in West Lancashire will be able to take advantage of a positive economic outlook and vastly improved health and wellbeing outcomes. The people of West Lancashire deserve this and I’m delighted we have delivered it.”
Two of the three retail units will be tenanted by Lidl (20,828 sqft) and B&M (20,105 sqft) with the smaller, c10,828 sqft unit, being in the final stages of negotiations to let. The finished part of the scheme also includes car parking and bus drop off point, and a redeveloped public realm adjacent to the existing swimming pool and library.
The town centre redevelopment scheme is a partnership between West Lancashire Borough Council, Homes England and developer St. Modwen, and is supported by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership. SGP worked closely with the local council on the design as the council will take over the management of the site, once built, from St Modwen.
Explains Lyndon: “The retail units are part of a much larger scheme, focused on an underdeveloped area of brownfield land between the West Lancashire College and the existing town centre. It’s hoped that, by bringing essential new retail development to the town, these units will be the catalyst for further investment and improvements.”
The scheme will improve connectivity between the Concourse Shopping Centre and the vibrant West Lancashire College, improving the pedestrian access and providing facilities for local residents, improving the character of the area and supporting a bustling town centre.
An exciting new public realm was considered a vital element of the regeneration, re-emphasising the links between the new retail scheme, the town and the college. A gentle mix of grass and trees will soften the urban feel and high quality hard landscaping and seating will create a feeling of welcome, openness and safety to encourage pedestrians to pause and linger.
Concludes Lyndon: “Seeing the retail units complete gives a strong sense of achievement. The Skelmersdale regeneration has been mooted for many years, generating intense local interest. SGP was brought in seven years ago, when changes to the market forced a rethink of how the entire scheme should be put together, and it is a great feeling to see such a vigorous scheme begin to take shape.”