Plans to demolish the former Homebase store at Meols Cop retail park in Blowick in Southport could begin as early as this July.
The site, along with another two adjacent vacant units, are earmarked to make way for a new Sainsbury’s superstore, creating 160 new jobs.
Work can finally begin after Sainsbury’s and the site’s landlords, UBS, finally won a protracted planning battle for the work to begin.
As part of the works, Sefton Council is due to authorise the closure of a footpath which runs next to Fine Janes Brook and links Meols Cop Road with Foul Lane, from now until May 2023.
In his report to councillors, Head of Highways and Public Protection Peter Moore said: “Planning permission has been granted by Sefton Council for the redevelopment of part of the Meols Cop Retail Park, Southport.
“The retail park currently has a number of vacant units within the northern section of the site, one being the former Homebase business which spans the width of the site between Meols Cop Road and Foul Lane.
“As part of the proposed improvements the former Homebase unit is to be completely demolished and replaced by a new Sainsbury’s superstore between July 2022 and May 2023.
“The construction site is immediately adjacent to an unnamed footpath which runs adjacent to Fine Janes Brook and links Meols Cop Road with Foul Lane.
“The closure of the footpath is required to maintain public safety during the demolition of the existing building and construction of the new superstore. Improvement works will also be carried out to the footpath.
“The diversion route will be via Meols Cop Road, New Foul Lane and Foul Lane and Vice Versa. “It is anticipated that the works will be undertaken between the 28th July 2022 and 31st May 2023.”
It is recommended that the unnamed footpath running from Meols Cop Road to Foul Lane, Southport be temporarily closed from 28th July 2022 until 31st May 2023 or until the works are completed.
Sefton Council’s Head of Locality Services is due to be authorised to execute the necessary legal procedures to advertise the council’s intention.
Sainsbury’s, and landlord UBS, which is responsible for construction of the site, believe that the superstore will create jobs, give a much-needed boost to part of a retail park which has become empty and derelict, and will provide greater choice for shoppers.
As part of the agreement, Sainsbury’s existing Southport town centre store, on Great George’s Place just off Lord Street, must remain in place for at least the next five years.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We’re pleased that our plans for Meols Cop Retail Park will now go ahead and we look forward to opening our new store once built.”