PROJECT UPDATE: Demolition work begins on Penwortham site being cleared for 24-hour store

The demolition of the old buildings on Cop Lane
The demolition of the old buildings on Cop Lane

What is happening?

Demolition work has begun to make way for a new 24-hour supermarket in Penwortham, near Preston.

Where is it?

The Tesco store will be built on the site of derelict government offices at the junction of Cop Lane and Liverpool Road.

What is the background?

Despite objections from Penwortham Town Council and 75 local residents and businesses, planners said there were no reasonable grounds to refuse the Tesco application. Rivals Sainsbury’s had plans for a larger store on the same site passed in 2013.

Tesco says the store will create around 150 jobs. They argued that a supermarket would improve footfall in the centre of Penwortham. But objectors disagreed, saying it would take trade away from local shops and cause traffic problems at an already busy junction. A consultation exercise which attracted 850 responses, showed only a small majority – 54 per cent – were in favour. The overgrown plot of land was once a thriving government site with seven single-storey office buildings, constructed in the mid-1950s and employing up to 350 staff. It has remained empty since the civil servants moved out in early 2010.

What happens now?

Building work is expected to start later this year, with a spring opening date envisaged. It will create a 3,220 square metre store, a petrol station and two non-food retail units. The plan includes parking for 253 cars. Tesco said recently: “The plans will deliver much improved choice, free parking, a convenient place to shop and the rejuvenation of a vacant site. This is a vote of confidence in Penwortham.”