New cinema plan for Skelmersdale


One of the UK’s leading property companies has unveiled plans which would create the first multi-screen cinema in Skelmersdale for many years as part of a new £4 million leisure complex at Concourse Shopping Centre.

The seven-screen cinema could open as early as September 2015 if councillors give the exciting scheme the go-ahead.

Concourse Shopping Centre, which is owned by Skelmersdale Limited Partnership, a joint venture between London and Cambridge Properties (LCP) and Threadneedle Investments, is working closely with an as-yet unnamed cinema operator, to bring the 695-seat entertainment facility to the town.

Under LCP’s proposals, which have been submitted to West Lancashire Borough Council this week, the 23,500 sq ft cinema, along with two food outlets, would be situated on the second floor of the shopping centre.

On the first floor, a further four existing units would be converted to accommodate restaurants as part of the plans.

If the cinema is given the go-ahead, the shopping centre, which houses more than 70 shops including well-known high street names, would also undergo improvements.

Jo Salmon, retail portfolio manager for LCP, which is delivering the project on behalf of the Skelmersdale Limited Partnership, said the proposals offered an exciting opportunity for the town.
“This is a significant investment and we are very excited to be in a position to put the plans forward for consideration,” she said.

“We’ve been working hard with architects to put forward proposals for a deliverable leisure complex that will enhance the town and would enable local people to stay in Skelmersdale for their entertainment, rather than drive out of the area.

“The cinema, along with the restaurants and cafes, would be a real boost to the local economy and we hope that we can start work on the complex in the new year.
“We’re committed to playing a significant role in the ongoing improvement of Skelmersdale for the benefit of the community and the sustainability of the town centre. This is a demonstration of what we can do to help achieve that.”

If councillors give the plans the thumbs-up, more than 40 jobs could be created.
Ian Williams, architect at Haskolls, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring back life to the vacant space of the old market hall in an innovative, sustainable and deliverable way.

“The quality cinema experience supported by new food retailers will provide Skelmersdale with an unparalleled leisure offer in the local area, which will extend the evening economy and could well prove to be a catalyst for further regeneration and investment initiatives in the town centre.”

Neil Mitchenall, of Lunson Mitchenall, advisors/property agents, said: “I am delighted that our architects, together with our chosen cinema operator, have been able to create an innovative multiplex cinema and complementary cafés within the structure of the centre. It will enliven the whole of Skelmersdale, particularly in the evenings, and because it doesn’t involve any new build it will be brought forward very quickly.”

Lewis Evans, senior planner at Turley Associates, which has worked as planning adviser on the project, added: “The development will make an important contribution to improving the leisure facilities in the town centre and to the vitality of the town centre.

“In this respect it is fully aligned with national planning policy, which seeks to strengthen existing town centres as a priority, and with the West Lancashire Local Plan which prioritises development which would improve the retail and leisure offer of Skelmersdale town centre. It will deliver a number of important benefits and we believe there is a strong case for planning permission to be granted.”

LCP hopes to secure change of use planning approval by November 2014 so that work can start early spring 2015. Building work is expected to be completed in late summer, ready for opening in September 2015.

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