£9m plan to build flats for elderly

Artist's impression of how an extra care scheme could look on Fleet Street, Chorley
Artist's impression of how an extra care scheme could look on Fleet Street, Chorley

Plans have been unveiled for a £9m extra care scheme for elderly people to be built in Chorley town centre.

Chorley Council wants to build 65 flats on Fleet Street long-stay car park as part of the town centre masterplan.

“This development would provide purpose-built accommodation to look after our elderly population to ensure they can maintain their independence and dignity. It would also provide a community hub close to the town centre, supporting the people of Chorley when they need it the most, and providing an income to the council in the future.”

Coun Alistair Bradley

Coun Alistair Bradley, council leader, said: “This development would provide purpose-built accommodation to look after our elderly population to ensure they can maintain their independence and dignity.

“It would also provide a community hub close to the town centre, supporting the people of Chorley when they need it the most, and providing an income to the council in the future.”

The scheme includes 47 one-bedroom and 18 two-bed apartments, with a mix of rent and part-ownership, for people who have extra care needs, learning or physical disabilities, or dementia.

The council is putting forward more than £6m and the project is dependent on securing the remaining funding from the Government.

But Chorley councillors are disappointed that Lancashire County Council is not providing any funding.

Coun Bradley said: “We have bid for funding from the Government and I hope it gets the support it deserves.

“However I am disappointed that Lancashire County Council wasn’t able to support us with a capital contribution as they had promised, and I hope they can re-consider their position particularly as they will be a primary beneficiary of the scheme.”

Coun Mark Perks, leader of Chorley’s Conservative group, said: “It has come as a complete shock to discover that right at the last minute the capital contribution that the Labour-controlled county council had agreed to provide, was now not forthcoming.

“This means Chorley Council has needed to submitted a higher much larger grant bid than first anticipated and this now places the scheme more at risk from being rejected.

“The county council must realise and understand that they will be a primary beneficiary of the scheme and I urge them it is a scheme they must support.”

County Coun Jennifer Mein, county council leader, said: “The county council is keen to support the provision of accommodation that helps older people and people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

“We recognise the need for the proposed scheme in Chorley.

“However our senior financial expert, who has a statutory duty to ensure that the county council spends its money properly, was unable to recommend that we support the scheme financially as we had not been provided with a sufficiently robust business case.

“It appears Chorley Council has identified a way of delivering the scheme without need for our support.

“The county council will continue to seek opportunities to provide financial support to similar proposals where a funding contribution will enable the development to be delivered.”

As part of the plan, the St John Ambulance Hall would be demolished.

There was a campaign to save the building, as it has a dance floor used for classes, but the scheme will include a multi-purpose community space incorporating a sprung dance floor.

The development would be available to hire by community groups and a cafe bistro would open to the public.