Proposals to change town centre’s look

Councillors Joyce and Ralph Snape with residents outside the former hospital on Gillibrand Street.
Councillors Joyce and Ralph Snape with residents outside the former hospital on Gillibrand Street.

Existing car parks and buildings could be set to disappear as Chorley becomes one of the first northern towns to bring back new town centre housing.

Up to 40 two and three-storey terraced houses, an apartment block and an elderly care home are among the options being put forward.

The ambitious – and already controversial – proposals for the Fleet Street and Gillibrand Street areas are part of Chorley Council’s town centre masterplan.

A five-week consultation period has begun, ending on June 2.

A council-staffed exhibition will take place at the former Connexions Unit, Market Street, today and Thursday between 11am and 4pm.

People have already expressed concerns about the possible loss of car parking and historic buildings, such as the former hospital on Gillibrand Street.

They say they were “shocked” when they learnt of the proposals.

Lesley-Ann Fenton, council director of partnerships, planning and policy, said: “This is the first phase of the masterplan that we are going out to more detailed consultation and we are one of the first northern towns looking to bring new housing back into the town centre.

“By improving these under-utilised areas, Chorley will benefit from better sense of community, making the area more vibrant along with an improved look of the town centre as buildings will be fresh and modern.”

The proposals could involve new terrace houses and an apartment block on the Fleet Street car parks, or an extra care housing development for the elderly on the southern end of Fleet Street.

Offices on Gillibrand Street could become housing or apartments along with additional terraced housing or apartments further north of the street.

The former hospital could become around 20 new apartments. An option exists for the building to be demolished.

The council director said: “As a council, we will always take on board the opinions and views of local residents and traders when considering different development options and are very keen to hear what people think about these


And she added; “We are aware that people may be concerned about the loss of parking in the town centre but those car parks are underutilised.

“Also, the development of the new ASDA superstore, which is due to open late this year, will bring hundreds of car parking spaces which will be accessible to everybody by running on a pay and display scheme.”

Resident Win Bradshaw, 68, of Gillibrand Street, said; “People rely on the car parks like Fleet Street for their


“They are building on West Street car park as well which is used by the church, club and register office.”

She said she would oppose the demolition of the former hospital. “If they could turn it into apartments, that would be a good idea, or make it into some kind of community facility,” she said.

Catherine Jackson, 68, and Tina Pedley, 51, of Robert Street, said they would oppose plans their street.

And Rose Grime, of Avondale Road, said: “I think we should have car parks for people coming into town and not close them all down.”

Ward councillor Ralph Snape said: “The most important thing is to consult the residents. They live here and they will have to live here after it is over.”