Train station plan moves forward as purchase of former college site approved
The development has been hailed as a significant step in bringing a train station to Skelmersdale, which has been worked on for several years.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has approved the acquisition of the ex-Skelmersdale College for £1 to create the long-awaited public transport link for the town.
A further £2m has been allocated to demolish the buildings and cover any additional costs of preparing the location to be developed into the train station.
County Coun John Fillis said: "This is another significant step forward in bringing a train service back to Skelmersdale, which will be a huge boost to the local economy that will be felt right across West Lancashire and beyond.
“It demonstrates the confidence that people have in Skelmersdale to grow and prosper even in these very difficult times.
“The station development is coming together due to the determination of local residents and their aspirations for themselves and future generations.”
Purchasing the college site means all the land required for the station, car park and retail development is available.
The transport link has also been championed by West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper.
The county council in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has been progressing the Skelmersdale rail link and town centre railway station through Network Rail’s Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process for a number of years, supported by Network Rail and consultants.
A strategic outline of the business case for the entire development has been funded by the county council and should be finished by the end of this year.
This has recently included work to consider how the railway line and station will fit in with Skelmersdale’s existing road network.
The Government will then have to make the decision to move forward to the development stage, when funding would be agreed and the authorities would work with Transport for the North.
The station was included in the West Lancashire Highways and Transport Master Plan in October 2014.