Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 11:22 UK

Locals back plans to revamp town

Plans for the 350m revamp of a west Lancashire town centre have been approved by people living there.

A public consultation has revealed that more than two-thirds of the 1,879 who offered their views on the plans for Skelmersdale were in favour.

West Lancashire Council said plans for a bus station, new shops and bars would give the town a "new heart".

However 189 homes in Firbeck and Findon would have to be demolished, which has upset some people in the area.

A six-week consultation period involved a newsletter and questionnaire being sent to every house in the town together with a special exhibition displayed in the concourse.

A total of 68% of those who completed questionnaires were in favour of demolishing the Firbeck estate, providing residents were fully compensated and given alternative accommodation options.

'Strong support'

Ninety-three per cent supported plans for a pedestrian-friendly high street with a range of shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, a cinema and leisure and community facilities.

A further 86% backed proposals to move the college, library, swimming pool, sports centre and ecumenical centre to new purpose-built facilities in the town centre.

And 92% supported the proposals to create new routes, links and car parks to allow better access to the town centre.

Les Abernethy, deputy chief executive, said: "It's clear that there is strong support for the regeneration plans."

The masterplan will be discussed at council meetings on Thursday and again early next month.

Any views expressed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in June will be passed on to the cabinet meeting on 17 June, when a final decision will be made on whether to go ahead with the plan.

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