Building work set to start on Nelson town centre McDonald's, says shopping centre owner

The owners of Nelson shopping centre claim work is finally set to start on a 24-hour drive-thru McDonald’s to be built in the heart of the town centre.

Future Properties Limited, the company which owns Pendle Rise shopping mall, says the fast food restaurant will be built at the demolished multi-storey car park and bus station site on nearby Broadway, bringing new town centre investment and jobs.

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Earlier this year, McDonald’s told the Express it was not looking to pursue this particular application, but would “continue to explore alternative opportunities in the area”.

The old multi-storey car park site in Nelson where a new McDonalds is planned for.

However, construction work is now expected to start in June, Future Properties said.

The new McDonald’s restaurant is expected to create 20 full-time and 40 part-time jobs, according to plans previously approved by Pendle Borough Council. Parking space is earmarked for 40 cars.

A spokesperson for Future Properties Limited, owned by Pendle businessman Mohammed Asjad, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week: “We have just recently sold the multi-storey car park site to McDonald’s, which is very welcome news for Nelson. There will be a seated area inside the new restaurant, a drive-through area and also a delivery service.

The spokesperson added: “This is a boost for Nelson town centre, bringing regeneration, investment and jobs. It will bring new business to the town, and visitors from Nelson and outside the area.”

The drive-thru restaurant planning application was submitted by Future Properties Limited with agent Campbell Driver Partnership, an architecture and design firm in Blackburn.

Pendle Rise shopping centre, which also had an indoor Market Hall, has been the subject of debate in recent months about the future of Nelson town centre. The shopping mall site covers an estimated 4.6 acres of land and includes the adjoining Phoenix Chambers office block, which has had planning permission for 40 apartments.

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Some Pendle councillors and regeneration consultants behind a Nelson Masterplan have said the site is an obstacle to town centre regeneration. They have recommended it all be compulsorily purchased by the borough council to speed-up redevelopment. The borough council has been earmarked £25million through the government’s Town Deal Fund

The estimated value of Pendle Rise has also been debated by some borough councillors. However, Future Properties Limited has always maintained its valuation is fair, accurate and was reached independently by a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors-accredited valuer with detailed knowledge of east Lancashire property market.

This week, Future Properties again said it was keen to work positively with the borough council on the future of Pendle Rise. Discussions are ongoing, it said.

Pendle Rise was originally one of the first Arndale indoor shopping centres in the 1960s. But some believe it has become outdated and no longer meets modern shopping or leisure habits.

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Overall, as a set of multiple units and buildings, critics say the whole site now hinders the movement of people around Nelson, along with other factors such as local roads, industrial estate locations, the M65 motorway and the position of Nelson and Colne College on the opposite side of the M65 from Nelson.

Separately, the closure of the indoor Market Hall during the pandemic by Pendle Borough Council prompted criticism of the council by some market stall-holders and customers. The council has a long-term lease on the Market Hall.

McDonald’s has been approached for comment.