West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper came out fighting for the future of Skelmersdale Town Centre regeneration in Parliament yesterday as she slammed proposals for a £400m Kirkby development as ‘legalised bribery’ and said that if agreed, the plans would have a ‘disastrous impact’ on Skelmersdale and other surrounding towns.
“I am all in favour of regenerating Kirkby, but this cannot come to the detriment of neighbouring towns. A development of such huge proportions would essentially ruin the chances of any future development in Skelmersdale or other nearby towns such as St. Helen’s, Southport, Liverpool and Wigan."
“It was reported recently that Knowsley Borough Council and Tesco are already buying up all of the land in Kirkby Town Centre to make it easier to shove their plans through, but they must have some sort of crystal ball because a decision is not expected from the Secretary of State for another four months."
“Such brazen action by Knowsley Council in collusion with Tesco is appalling. I strongly urge the Secretary of State to send the plans back to the drawing board so that a more sensible development can be proposed, one that is complimentary to the regeneration schemes in Skelmersdale and other nearby towns. If the scheme goes ahead in its current form it would be seen by my constituents as legalised bribery."
“We have the potential to vastly improve the quality of life of communities in both towns. I will be working hard to ensure that a fair deal is reached for all sides.”
Rosie has raised the issue in Parliament in the past and submitted two formal written statements to the planning inquiry on the issue. A plan for £350m of investment in the regeneration of Skelmersdale Town Centre could hit serious difficulties if the Kirkby scheme as it stands goes ahead, which would devastate the local community and draw investment away from the town.
Rosie was also interviewed by Duncan Barkes from the CityTalk radio station, on his morning programme "CityTalk Breakfast with Duncan Barkes" on 09/07/09 concerning the regeneration proposals, which you may listen to here:
Many thanks go to CityTalk for supplying the audio recording of the interview (Please note: The audio file is in mp3 format). You can visit the CityTalk website at www.citytalk.fm.
You can also view a video of rosie discussing the proposals in parliament (take from www.theyworkforyou.com) on 7th July 2009 below: