“Laughable” and “misleading” is Rosie Cooper MP’s description of the Borough Council’s claims that the redevelopment of Skelmersdale town centre is ‘firmly on track.’
MP Rosie was responding to Council claims after residents have started to question why there is no progress on the redevelopment of Skelmersdale town centre seven years after the project began.
MP Rosie said:
“For the Borough Council and St Modwen to claim the town centre redevelopment is firmly on track is laughable and to be honest misleading.
“For seven years I have worked with the Borough Council and wholeheartedly supported their plans for the redevelopment of Skelmersdale town centre. Enough is enough.
“Back in July the leader of the council publicly said ‘watch this space.’ I for one am tired of watching and waiting for something to happen.
“It is time the Borough Council and St Modwen were straight with the people of Skelmersdale and West Lancashire.”
Rosie has been calling for the redevelopment of the town centre to happen quickly. She has also been campaigning for a railway station to serve Skelmersdale; and for a new sports centre after the Borough Council demolished the old building without a replacement.
MP Rosie was speaking after the most recent Skelmersdale Summit on Wednesday 2 October 2013, which was attended by representatives from West Lancashire Borough Council, St Modwen, the Homes and Communities Agency, Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire College, Concourse Shopping Centre, Merseytravel, Serco and West Lancashire Leisure Trust.
During the meeting Rosie made clear that the lack of progress and the broken promises to the people of Skelmersdale were far from acceptable.
Rosie also slammed the Borough Council for allowing St Modwen to hold Skelmersdale’s future to ransom for the next 8 years.
When the 15-year development agreement was negotiated the council failed to include any break clauses should they need to end the deal.
This means St Modwen can sit on all the publicly owned land and not deliver a town centre as they have done for 7 years already.
MP Rosie continued:
“I believe that Skelmersdale is being held to ransom by St Modwen, and the Council have allowed it to happen by negotiating such a poor deal. In reality the Council have given away control of huge amounts of public land with no guarantees of anything in return.
“The people of Skelmersdale are now being sold the idea that building a few houses is a good deal. It’s a good deal for St Modwen despite failing to deliver on their town centre commitment as they still get a percentage from the house building.
“At least with Skelmersdale’s Sale of the Century in the 1980s they got £1 for selling each house. This Conservative Administration has virtually given away huge amounts of public land for 15 years, and in essence Skelmersdale’s future, for nothing.
“The Borough Council needs to justify their actions and admit that they are failing the people of Skelmersdale. St Modwen either needs to deliver the town centre redevelopment in the immediate future, or walk away from the contract and give the land back.
“I think the people of West Lancashire have every right to question the competence of this Borough Council when you consider the deal they’ve agreed on Skelmersdale town centre redevelopment and what is happening with One Conntect Limited.”