Lancashire County Council Cabinet has now approved the acquisition of the former Skelmersdale College site for £1 and approved the allocation of over £2 million pounds to demolition the buildings along with addition costs in preparation for the development of a Skelmersdale Train Station.
Cllr John Fillis, speaking on behalf of all the county councillors for Skelmersdale, Cllr Julie Gibson and Cllr Terry Aldridge, said “This is another significant step forward in bring a train services 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. As representatives we are only as strong as the people we represent, MP Rosie Cooper has championed the Skelmersdale Train Station, which was established within the West Lancashire Highways and Transport Master Plan in October 2014. Despite changes within the political landscape it has been kept on track, demonstrating its true strategic value within the North West.”
This will now bring all the required land together for the train station, parking and retail development. In addition to the current work already being carried out by West Lancashire Borough Council and partners.
The county council in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have 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.
This work has almost reached the end of GRIP Stage 3 (Option Selection), which should conclude by this summer 2020, following completion of an assessment of traction power options in line with Office of Rail and Road regulations and requirements. In addition, an assessment of how the new railway line and station will interface with the local highway network has been undertaken, including local highway design. The county council has committed to fund and develop a strategic outline business case for the scheme, work on which should conclude by late 2020. Effectively, this will complete Stage 1 of the Department for Transport’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline process (the ‘Determine’ stage). The county council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will then need to work closely with Transport for the North to move the project forward into Stage 2 (the ‘Develop’ stage), although ultimately that decision is taken by the Government. Any government funding contribution for Stage 2 will be agreed as part of this decision.