PLANS to open a new Tesco in Penwortham have moved a step closer to fruition.
Bosses at the supermarket giant say the store at the former Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) site in Cop Lane would bring 150 new jobs to the area.
Proposals include a smaller store than was initially planned, a petrol station, 253 parking spaces and two additional retail units.
The 4.9 acre site has been vacant since 2009 and was acquired by Tesco in 2013. Since then plans to develop the site have been delayed with residents frustrated that the area is being left to stagnate.
South Ribble councillor David Howarth (Howick and Priory) said: “The sooner we get something done with it the sooner we get rid of a bomb site.”
A Tesco spokesman told the Evening Post that of the 861 residents who responded to the initial consultation, 54 per cent supported plans for a new store.
Crucially, 83 per cent of residents told Tesco that they were keen to see the site of the former government buildings brought back into use following a decade of laying empty, with a number of respondents claiming that the site had become an eyesore in the centre of Penwortham.
Mark Thomas, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager for the North of England, said: “A large majority of respondents would like to see the derelict site at the junction of Cop Lane and Liverpool Road regenerated, and we want to make sure that our proposals deliver long term benefits for the community. The increase in local retail options, coupled with 150 new jobs, will deliver real benefits to local people and the local economy.
“This is a vote of confidence in Penwortham and wider South Ribble’s growing economy.”
The planning application is now waiting with South Ribble Council to be validated until a public consultation can be launched.