FOR SALE: Tesco open to bids for Penwortham store site
Supermarket giant Tesco has put a huge plot of land in the centre of Penwortham up for sale after its shock decision to pull out of plans to build a 24-hour store there.
The company is inviting offers for the five-acre site at the junction of Liverpool Road and Cop Lane which has planning permission for a supermarket, a petrol station and two non-food retail units.
Tesco, which bought the land after Sainsbury’s also decided not to proceed with a store, has spent an undisclosed amount clearing the site, which was previously occupied by Government buildings.
And a local councillor has raised concerns about the future of the plot which has stood vacant for eight years.
“There is still a demand for a supermarket, but if Tesco and Sainsbury’s both think it isn’t viable, who is going to take it on?” said Coun David Howarth who represents Penwortham on three councils.
“We were always surprised when they came in and said they intended to go ahead, because at the same time they were mothballing places elsewhere and closing others. One fear is that it will just be in a landbank as an asset on the balance sheet. But in the meantime why can’t we have a car park on there, because parking in the area is very limited.”
Options for development - assuming another supermarket chain does not snap it up - include housing and mixed retail.
Tesco’s abandonment of its superstore plan stunned locals, coming totally out of the blue last month, just two days before IKEA pulled out of a site in Cuerden near Bamber Bridge.
Expensive groundworks had already been carried out to make the sites ready and their decisions came as real body blows to South Ribble with the loss of hundreds of promised jobs as a consequence.
The land has planning permission for a superstore, with a filling station and two non-food units.