A host of new shops are opening in Chorley, in a trading boom which promises to inject new life back into the town.
Throughout Christmas and the New Year, a number of independent businesses left the area due to lack of trade, but speculation has mounted that a prominent base in the town centre is set to be occupied at long last.
Rumours circulated that the former Burton store would be taken over by a national retailer, but a notice in the window of Azuri bag shop in Market Walk states it’s re-locating to the prime location.
The menswear chain backed out of the unit on the corner of Cleveland Street and Market Place in January, and it has been revealed that the smaller firm is wanting to take over the bigger space.
Malcolm Allen, chair of the Chorley Traders Alliance, said: “We were told that a High Street name would be moving in, and I thought the agreement was going through solicitors, but it now looks like Azuri is moving there.
“It’s great that businesses see a future in Chorley, and I think it will bring confidence back to the town if the Burton store is filled.”
The move comes after RREEF sold Market Walk to commercial property group Orchard Street Investment Management last week, for £22.5 million.
It came with planning permission for Market Walk phase two, a multi-million pound development to create new retail units and a multi-storey car park.
Mr Allen added: “At the last traders’ meeting, it was also discussed that a hairdressers and nail bar might be coming to Market Street and Bolton Street, so independent shops are set to lead the way again, which is what Chorley is all about.”
High Street’s Rebel Cause clothes shop is now a children’s boutique called Ninos, and it’s believed that another unit on the street, which used to be occupied by female clothes shop Mee, is set to be open again soon.
A mobility scooter shop called Handy Healthcare has opened its doors on Chapel Street, which used to be a ‘pound shop’, before it more recently sold handbags and luggage items.
And opposite that, a school uniform shop called Top Form has taken over a charity shop, and looks set to trade in the near future.
Now, Chorley Council has spoken out about how the boost will help attract more people back to the market town, following the closure of some companies during the winter months.
Cath Burns, Head of Economic Development, said: “The council is working hard to attract more retailers and businesses into the town, and we look forward to seeing the old Burtons’ unit being let.”
Plans to bring an Asda to the QS Fashions site in Pall Mall are also ongoing.