A landmark bingo hall and neighbouring buildings could be demolished to make way for a major new development in Chorley town centre.
The Guardian has learnt that Gala Bingo and surrounding businesses could be ripped down as part of plans to redevelop the site in Market Street and High Street, which was last year destroyed by fire.
Demolition crews had to tear down the former Amalfi Italian Restaurant and Cash Converters after the blaze raged through the businesses and rendered the buildings unsafe.
Now, it is believed that Chorley Council, which owns the freehold to the land, is in talks about its future – with demolition being one option on the table.
Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “There are no firm options for the site.
“However, the council is very interested in promoting the town centre and we are looking at all available sites as part of drawing up our masterplan for the future.
“We want to see the town centre grow and after the fire we would like to see something happen with the site to redevelop it to maximise its potential.”
Guardian sources claim that the council has contacted tenants Gala, who have a 99-year lease on the land, and Northern Trust, who have a 999-year lease for neighbouring buildings, to discuss the future of the land.
Malcolm Allen, chair of Chorley Traders Alliance, said businesses would welcome the move. He added: “The land is in a prime location for Chorley town centre and part of it is now sat empty after the fire.
“I believe it would be a
good thing to see it redeveloped for retail and leisure use which could incorporate new apartments.
“The demolished site has become a bit of an eyesore and and it is a shame to see it sat empty.”
As well as the bingo hall, there is a bar, estate agents and charity shop on the site.
Nigel Clare, who owns the menswear shop facing the land affected by the fire, said: “I certainly think it would be a good thing long-term to see the site re-developed for commercial use.
“Trade is healthy in Chorley and a project like that could bring more people in to the town.
“I’d like to see the creation of a hotel with a restaurant and units for independent shops, to compliment the ones already in High Street.
“We’re probably looking at something like two years and I only hope that the existing businesses are considered in the plans put forward by Chorley Council.”
The Guardian contacted Gala Bingo and Northern Trust, but they were unavailable for comment when we went to press.