Council approves £17million town centre investment
Shoppers in Chorley town centre will see dramatic changes in the coming months after Chorley Council agreed one of the biggest investment packages ever made to improve the town centre.
Ambitious plans to bring a new cinema, high street retailers and restaurants to Chorley should now become a reality after councillors gave their approval to proceed with the Market Walk extension. The move will ensure that Chorley town centre is set up for the future and retains its identity as Lancashire’s market town with a wide variety of independent traders. Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We want to be ambitious for Chorley and give the residents of the whole borough a town centre that they can be proud of and provide a place where they want to spend their leisure time and do their shopping rather than going to neighbouring towns and cities. “As a local authority, rather than a private investor whose interests may lie elsewhere, we have been able to put together plans, which should benefit everyone in the town centre by increasing footfall and keeping money within the town. “The idea behind the scheme is that it will complement the variety of independent traders we already have but introduce new retailers and a leisure offer including a cinema and restaurants that people keep telling us they want to see in Chorley.” The £17 million investment will include £12.6 million for the Market Walk extension and associated works and a further £4 million being put towards improving the public realm. The extension would see seven new units created with the council committed to having more than 75 per cent of the floor space filled before work could begin – negotiations are at advanced stages for 79 per cent of the development. Other elements discussed at the full council meeting on Tuesday night included:
The creation of new parking spaces in areas including the site of the United Reformed Church, off Hollinshead Street
The possibility of providing more free parking available throughout the week
The creation of a new civic square opposite the Town Hall
The revamp of Market Street north and the rest of the main town centre routes
The re-location of the Flat Iron Market for the duration of the works
A commitment that the council will continue to work with and consult local traders throughout the improvements
“The next few years will see some of the most dramatic changes ever seen in the town centre with the Market Walk and town centre improvements, the creation of the new youth zone and the retirement village on Fleet Street,” said Councillor Bradley. “What we’d encourage people to do is support us in this and shop local where you can – we can put investment in to improve the facilities but we need residents to come and spend their money here to support local traders, create new jobs and keep money in the local economy. “We’ve got outline agreements with a number of large retailers and leisure providers and now the council has taken the decision to progress, we hope to be able to announce some names very soon with work expected to start early in the New Year.” Chorley Council bought the Market Walk shopping centre in 2013 and planning permission was granted for the extension last year. A number of modifications have been made to the original plans, which will now see the development earn more income than initially projected. If approved the extension could be open by summer/autumn 2018.