South Ribble Borough Council is looking into the possibility of Compulsory Purchasing derelict development land in the heart of Penwortham.
What’s the background?
A five acre site at the junction of Cop Lane and Liverpool Road housed Department of Work and Pensions offices until 2009.
After that, Sainsbury's submitted plans for a supermarket but then pulled out.
The plot was sold to Tesco in 2013 which, despite being given permission for a 30,000 sq ft food store in 2017, also pulled out of the development. The site has been for sale since June 2018.
What’s the latest?
Penwortham Councillor David Howarth, chairman of the council’s scrutiny committee, said he raised the Compulsory Purchase idea in February and was waiting for a report back from officers.
He said: “The site has been vacant for 10 years and we don’t want it to be another Towngate (in Leyland), which is going to be derelict for 30 years.
If Sainsbury's and Tesco can’t make it work, then clearly a supermarket isn’t viable, so other options have to be explored.
As a new administration the new corporate plan is to invest in property again, to build property ourselves. The land lends itself to use as a retirement village, there’s the possibility of affordable housing, and there’s a distinct lack of car parking in the district centre. It’s a good opportunity to tidy up a bombsite in Penwortham.
The Council line:
Council leader Councillor Paul Foster said: “We’re looking to develop proposals for the town centre and will work in conjunction with Councillor Howarth to achieve this.”
What do Tesco say?
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are actively looking for a positive future for our site in Penwortham and we hope to be able to update the local community soon.”