Work has begun in Chorley town centre to refresh the look of tired retail buildings above eye level.
A total of 23 businesses on Market Street have signed up to receive help from Chorley Council to make their shop fronts more visually appealing to visitors to the town
The council is working with the social enterprise, Newground, to train young, unemployed people with skills in the construction industry as part of the refurbishment project.
The work will take approximately 16 weeks starting at Dickinson’s furniture shop and working up the street in three phases.
It will involve cleaning brickwork, replacing and re-painting window frames, repairing and re-painting render, gutter repairs and general cleaning to frontages.
Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “Many of these buildings have been neglected above eye level for many years. By renewing the buildings, the street will be given a facelift and will look much more modern and appealing to visitors coming to Chorley to do their shopping. The project is also a great opportunity for young, unemployed people to gain skills and experience to get them used to give them a head start in their career.”
Chorley Council is working with landlords to share the cost of works, the authority will cover the management costs and enablement works such as scaffolding as well as training equipment for the young people engaged with the project. The businesses are responsible for the cost of materials and labour that they require.
Disruption will be kept to a minimum during the work and businesses will be open as usual throughout.
Meanwhile, Brown’s Butchers, Market Place, have benefitted from a council shop front improvement grant used to make the shop more accessible by removing existing steps into the shop and replacing them with a ramp suitable for wheelchairs and prams. The grant has also been used to replace the existing shop front with new aluminium window frames.
This brings the total of shop front improvement grants up to £47,832 since May 2012 which has generated over £100,000 of private sector investment.
Chris Brown said: “We had the new shop front fitted as we wanted to have better access for the disabled in the shop.
“The shop front was 75 per cent paid for by Chorley Council and with the help of Coun Ralph Snape. The shop looks so much better from it and everything has been improved, it just looks better on the eye. It draws people to the shop, the colours are much brighter and it gives us a new look and we have already benefited from it. Chorley Council were excellent in doing this and I can’t thank them enough.”
Coun Snape said: “Chris lives in my area and when he contacted me I wanted to help him out, I got on to the council and they made things happen. We at the council want to support the Guardian’s Shop Local campaign and it’s great what they are doing. It shows how the campaign the council and businesses can all work together.”