A STRUGGLING town centre has been boosted by a national retailer’s decision to buy a key site.

Home Bargains is to redevelop the former Tesco site in Leeds Road, Nelson, which has stood empty for many years.

The company, which has had a store in the Pendle Rise shopping centre in Nelson, hopes to open the new-look shop early next year.

Council leaders in Pendle have welcomed the investment in the 25,000 sq ft premises.

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news, which is again proving that our long-term plan with a clear vision for Nelson is paying off.

“It shows that there’s growing confidence in Nelson, with a key national business expanding into a larger flagship store.

“It follows hot on the heels of Costa and Peacocks, which opened in the heart of the town centre in August and September this year.

“This move will increase footfall into a part of town which needed a boost providing a positive knock-on effect on nearby businesses.”

Joe Morris, operations director at Home Bargains, welcomed the deal.

He said: “We’re thrilled to have acquired this landmark site in Nelson.

“We’re looking forward to delivering a redeveloped, flagship 25,000 sq ft store on the former Tesco site and are excited to welcome both existing and new customers through our doors.”

In the last five years almost £4million of external funding has been invested in Nelson town centre.

The money has been spent on reintroducing slow traffic through the centre with more parking, a tree-lined boulevard and central amphitheatre with Nelson Shuttle sculpture and new parking on Scotland Road.

Cllr Iqbal added: “I’m delighted Home Bargains has agreed that when it opens its doors at the new site, customers will still be able to park free for up to three hours.

“We’re hoping this new store will attract new as well as existing customers. who will take the opportunity to visit other shops in the town.”

Craig Brandwood, who bought Pendle Rise this summer, said: “Future Properties 1st Limited, the new owners of Pendle Rise Shopping Centre, wish Home Bargains staff and management great success with the announced expansion plan.

“It can only be a positive move for the town of Nelson as a whole. More and more high street retailers are showing interest in the town and here at Pendle Rise we are gaining positive momentum with four units already in contract stages. The future is looking good for Nelson.”