New housing plans for landmark site

Former Initial Textile Services site in Chorley.
Former Initial Textile Services site in Chorley.

LANDMARK former Chorley factory has new plans for housing on the site.

The part-demolished Initial Textile Services factory at the top of Harpers Lane has been identified for 14 new two-storey homes.

And the move has been welcomed by folk happy to see the eyesore redeveloped.

Chorley-based Elmwood Construction have submitted a planning application for the housing to Chorley Council.

The site became empty in 2007 when Initial Washroom Solutions – previously known as Initial Textile Services –announced they were streamlining operations by moving work to three new plants in Glasgow, Birmingham and Reading.

Sites in Chorley and Bradford were closed, resulting in hundreds of job losses.

In 2008, plans to transform the site into housing fell through when Manchester-based company DTZ Debenham Tieu Leung failed to strike a deal with the owners.

David Joyce, of Bamber Bridge-based JYM Partnership, the agent for the applicant, said: “The site itself has already got planning permission for housing for the whole site.

“But this is just a slight change to the other application to start the development off along Willow Road.

“It’s going to be a mixture of
semi-detached and four terraced houses and all three bedroom.”

He added: “The intention is to develop the whole site, but you need a catalyst to start the ball rolling.

“I think the site has been redundant for a long time and it was in quite a messy state. There was a lot of vandalism on the site since the building was taken away.”

In 2009, a devastating fire severely damaged the site. Several roads around were closed while around 30 firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control. Arson was suspected.

The site has repeatedly been the target of vandals and firebugs since it closed in 2007.

Ward councillor Adrian Lowe said: “It’s again one of those that’s been ongoing for quite a while since Initial closed down. We’ve been fighting for improvements in that area.

“We welcome it in terms of an element of affordable housing, improvements for the neighbourhood and to make sure the access point at Willow Road was suitable.

“But certainly we would welcome the demolition of the remnant part at the top. To my mind we share the residents view it should have been flattened, full stop.

“It’s an absolute nightmare at the top of Harpers Lane an it’s not at all welcoming for the residents in that particular area who have to see that.”