Up to 250 jobs could be created under a £16m scheme to revamp a shopping complex.

Developers Peel Holdings says work could begin on improving Whitebirk Retail Park in eight weeks.

The complex which houses stores including PC World and SCS Sofas currently has 15 units, eight of which are vacant.

Peel Holdings plans to increase the units to 18 and is currently in talks with a number of firms to attract them to the site. Work could begin on the project in the next eight months.

Council leader Miles Parkinson said he was concerned on the impact on Accrington town centre, but added that any new jobs created in the current climate was good news.

He added: “Although we wish to maintain Accrington, people are attracted to these out-of-town centres and it is better for the area that they go there rather than further afield.

“The centre is looking very tired and it does need investment if it is to create these jobs and attract more people. Jobs are important at this time and obviously stores need a larger footprint to do that.”

Under the plans, the size of the retail park would remain the same – as Peel is looking to sub-divide some of the existing units to create the new ones.

A spokesman for Peel Holdings said: “This is an important development for Hyndburn in terms of job creation as well as securing a healthy future for Whitebirk Retail Park.

“Hyndburn residents deserve to have the same opportunities and choice as those living in other nearby towns and we are pleased that local shoppers overwhelmingly agree.

“People have told us in no uncertain terms that they want to see a better selection of retailers at this local retail park and we are excited at the prospect of delivering the types of stores they wish to see and use at Whitebirk.”

Peel Holdings has already secured planning permission from Hyndburn council and is now seeking confirmation that its new retailers can come to the park before work starts.