Supermarket moving ahead with vision for vacant site

The former Government Buildings at 1 Cop Lane in Penawortham
The former Government Buildings at 1 Cop Lane in Penawortham
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The opening of a new Tesco supermarket in Penwortham is about to move a step closer.

Bosses at the retail giant have confirmed they are looking to enter new plans for the former Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) site in Cop Lane “before the end of the year”, and will be conducting a public consulation beforehand.

As part of this, Tesco representatives are due to make an appearance at the next Penwortham Town Council at Penwortham Community Centre in Kingsfold Drove on October 6.

They have told council officers they intend to take part in a question and answer session with the public.

Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas said: “We’d love to bring a new store to the former DWP site on Cop Lane.

“It would provide a great service to the community and bring the site back into use.

“Ahead of any planning application, our priority will be to talk to the Penwortham community about our plans through a period of public consultation and we hope to do this later in the year.”

The 4.9 acre site has been vacant since 2009, when it was identified for closure and vacated by the DWP as part of efficiency measures.

It was sold by London-based Telereal Trillium to Tesco in 2013.

In May 2012 plans were passed for Sainsbury’s to build a 35,000 sq ft food store on the site, despite objections from more than 700 people.

Concerns included traffic volumes and congestion around Cop Lane’s already busy junction with Liverpool Road, and the impact of a new superstore on small, local shops in Penwortham.

Later Sainsbury’s dropped the plans, citing financial reasons.

The 2012 plans have now expired, though Tesco insists it would be putting in new proposals as a matter of course, but hinted the size of the store was likely to be similar.