End in sight for ‘land that time forgot’

Coun Terry Brown at the mill building in Chorley

Coun Terry Brown at the mill building in Chorley

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IT has been described as the land that time forgot.

A 10ft tall mound of bricks, rubble and wood is all that remains on the site of Chorley’s last textile manufacturer - WM Lawrence and Sons Ltd off Townley Lane - which was demolished more than a year ago.

Local councillors have been demanding action and now it’s emerged that a new planning application is about to be submitted.

Coun Terry Brown, who represents Chorley East ward, said: “It is in a prime site close to the town centre, on a main bus route near the town centre and there are a lot of amenities nearby for homes or businesses.

“I thought it was a real shame that the industrial business (WM Lawrence Ltd) went to Oswaldtwistle and it would be ideal for another company to move there.

“It looks horrendous as just wasteland and never should have been left like this.”

The 160-year-old mill is situated off Townley Street and Coun Brown admits the site would have been ideal for a large GP surgery.

It follows news that plans for a state-of-art medical centre in nearby Friday Street had been shelved because of NHS budget cuts.

Coun Brown said: “Even though the NHS have bought land on Friday Street I think there is an option to build on the mill site which has already been knocked down.

“A lot of local people are calling for the surgery in Chorley East and it would be a good place for it.”

Elmwood Property Management have owned the last for the past year and owner Philip Noblett admitted things were gathering pace.

He said: “We put an application several months ago but it was only for part of the site and the council wanted to us to encompass it all.

“A new planning application will be submitted this week which includes a row of terraced houses along Townley Street.

“The other part of the site will be for industrial use and we have been marketing it for business use for the past couple of months.

“However, things are pretty quiet with the recession and we have not had much interest yet.”

Mr Noblett said a fresh application was about to be submitted for in relation to another derelict site the company owned.

Bulldozers knocked down most of the Initial Washrooms factory, on nearby Harpers Lane, in December 2009 and since then it has been a target for anti-social behaviour.

One plan for 50 homes was already been withdrawn and Mr Noblett said: “We are also submitting a new application for this development in the next 10 days which will also be a mix of residential and commercial use.”