Who remembers that day in December 2014 when the penny dropped for the then utterly useless Tory Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council who admitted to the BBC You and Yours programme he was unaware of the retail vacancy rates in Skelmersdale, three-quarters of vacant shop units empty for more than three years, 90% of all retail spending done outside the town? “I had not realised the vacancy rate figures were as high as that” said Cllr D Westley “I acknowledge there is a problem in Skelmersdale…down to the way it was built…no night-time economy…we are trying to address this” said woeful Wally.
So how was it addressed? It wasn’t, and now Rosie Cooper MP has given her reaction to the proposed closure of the Natwest Skelmersdale Branch below.
“This is dreadful and very disappointing news for Skelmersdale residents and for the staff at the branch whose future may be unclear at this point. Natwest have pointed to declining numbers using the branch and say that is a key reason for choosing to close the Skelmersdale branch.
“What is so deeply disappointing is that this is another town centre business which is shutting its doors, at a time when we are trying to push ahead with getting the new town centre built. The new town centre would bring increased footfall into the area and we might have seen a different outcome with Natwest.
“We need to get a move on with the town centre and I will be contacting the Chief Executive and Leader at West Lancashire Borough Council to ask what steps they are taking to tackle the current exodus from Skelmersdale. We have Natwest closing, GE making up to 90 redundancies and Scott Rees the solicitors moving 200 of their staff down the M6 to Newton-le-Willows; Skelmersdale needs more than ambassadors – we need action, a quick start on the town centre and a thorough review of economic development plans for the area.
“I’m arranging an urgent meeting with Natwest Directors to discuss the situation and the impact on its customers in Skelmersdale”.