Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 2, 2017

Exodus From Skelmersdale?

 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”.


  1. Far from a bleak outlook for Skelmersdale there is soon to be some very exciting announcements which will move the Town on to a long term regeneration. I would encourage everyone to adopt a positive rather than a negative narrative when talking about Skelmersdale : reference ‘Growing from the Green’ document which gives a hint of what is to come. The situation is far from ‘hopeless’ and definitely and firmly in the ‘hopeful’ category. Come on lets get behind the town and start talking it up as that will attract more business than talking it down! honey attracts more insects than vinegar!

    Cllr. JE Hodson
    Portfolio for Planning

    • John, look at the Scott Rees website where it states “Skelmersdale has been a fantastic location and home for us for many years. 25 years in fact! We are grateful to have had the opportunity to flourish in Skelmersdale. However, we feel that now is the right time to move on and move forward. We would like to wish the people and businesses of Skelmersdale a goodbye and all the best”.

      So why are they leaving? They flourished in Skelmersdale but want to move forward in Newton-le-Willows. Why, what should WLBC have done to keep them? 200 jobs, opening tomorrow elsewhere. It’s a big blow.

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