New McDonald’s restaurant shows our vision for Nelson, says Pendle Rise shopping centre owner
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Mohammed Asjad, of Future Properties, said the new McDonald’s restaurant and drive-thru on the site of the former Pendle Rise multi-storey car park and bus station had been brilliant for the town.
Brierfield-based Future Properties is a development company involved with sites across the country. It bought Pendle Rise shopping centre a few years ago, demolished the nearby multi-storey car park and gained planning permission for the new McDonald’s. It also owns the Phoenix Chamber office block nearby.
The main Pendle Rise shopping centre, including its covered market hall, has been the focus of debate about whether Pendle Council should use a CPO to buy it, to help with wider town centre redevelopment.
A regeneration report said Nelson has too many empty shops, Pendle Rise is dated and hinders the movement of people, and that a new, mix of buildings, town centre activities and spaces is needed. But a valuation of Pendle Rise for Future Properties has been disputed by some councillors.
Speaking recently following the McDonald’s opening, Mr Asjad said: “From buying the centre five years ago to seeing the new McDonald’s restaurant open and busy, you can see the transformation that’s taking place. It just goes to show what can happen when you provide what people want.
“The new McDonald’s opened on schedule just a few days ago. Already there is a big demand for it. It’s development was delayed by the Covid pandemic but, in the longer term, it has happened. Now, it’s open and is thriving.
“Already there’s a good mix of customers through the morning, afternoon and evening. People at work, children, families. And it’s created around 30 jobs, I believe.
“Previously on the site, there was the old, dilapidated multi-storey car park and bus station. The car park was built to serve Pendle Rise shopping centre back in the 1960s. But was in a poor state in recent years. There were leaks and parts were derelict. It was an eyesore. A big lump of concrete.
“But before we bought Pendle Rise, we already had a vision about what we wanted. We gained planning permission for around 40 apartments at the Phoenix Chamber offices. We also had the vision to demolish the old multi-storey car park and regenerate the land.
“In the past few days, I’ve had a lot of comments about what can be achieved in transforming Nelson, if you have the right vision. We would now like to look at the next stage of transforming the town into a flourishing retail and community hub.
“We are negotiating with Pendle Council and both parties are looking to create changes. Provided the council can make the right offer, then it’s likely a deal can be done without a compulsory purchase order.”
Mr Asjad said change is ongoing and town centres needed to adapt. He believes past Nelson town centre traffic and street schemes, such as partly pedestrianising Manchester Road and sending traffic around the back of Pendle Rise were questionable. But that was all history. The important thing now is for different groups to work together to change the town again, he said.