Lancastrian Suite set for new review as plans rejected

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Plans to transform Chorley’s Lancastrian Suite into offices have been thrown out.

The proposal was put forward after it was revealed that council assets are set to be streamlined to reduce costs and maximise income for the authority.

The use of council buildings, including the Town Hall, Bengal Street Depot and offices, Yarrow Bridge site and offices in Gillibrand Street and Union Street are all under review as part of the cost-cutting measures.

However, the plans to use the impressive Lancastrian Suite, which underwent a £1m refurbish in 2006, as offices have now been quashed.

And, whilst no decisions have yet been made about the depot, the council has revealed that it could look to sell the Gillibrand Street offices, which is currently home to Chorley Community Housing.

The main council building in Union Street, where the customer services desk is situated, is also set to be opened up to include services from partners including Lancashire County Council and HM Revenue and Customs.

The findings have been revealed as part of a study undertaken by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

Reacting to the news, Coun Kevin Joyce, who is responsible for the council’s buildings and assets, said: “It’s important to make sure we’re using our buildings and assets as efficiently as possible, which is why the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered redeveloping the Lancastrian Suite to use as offices, but the costs were decided to be too high.

“Councillors felt that alternative uses of the facility should still be considered, and a new review will now look into what this might be.”

The report also suggests that one of the aspects that will be studied is whether of not more money is needed to make sure the facility is used more effectively.

Currently it is only available to hire by organisations and community groups, and private bookings are not allowed.

It is also used by the council for civic events and on election night.

Speaking about the plans for the council buildings, Coun Joyce added: “If the current use isn’t providing value for money, the best option would be to rent or sell some buildings.

“It is important to identify and address where changes could be made to streamline and make better use of council buildings, which is why we now offer shared services from partners like Lancashire County Council and HM Revenues and Customs from our Union Street offices.”