After more than 600 days of campaigning for action on a former retail outlet, supermarket giant Asda is set to finally demolish one of Chorley’s most vandalised landmarks.
The Guardian can reveal that the former QS Fashions store on Pall Mall will be pulled down in September, a move Chorley businesses have been waiting for since Chorley Council approved plans in December 2010.
It comes just weeks after reports fire crews dealt with a blaze which had broken out near some oxygen canisters on the site.
Michael Bromley, boss of engineering firm Tunit, which is next to the site, said: “I am really pleased that there has finally been some movement on the site. We have been waiting at a standstill because we want to know when Asda will start, so that we can make decisions on whether to expand or not.
“The residents are also affected, because they will not want to sell now because the Asda development could be improve the area, and their homes may be worth more.
“However, it is great news for the area that we know work is set to start.
“The important thing is that Asda does not demolish the site and then just leave it.”
QS Fashions shut in December last year, but now Mr Bromley added that it will hopefully see an end to problems on the site.
He said: “It was a concern when we had some travellers on there, and then the fires, and even young people committing anti-social behaviour.
“At least now if they are working on there then it should stop.”
Malcolm Allen chairman of the Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “Given the vandalism that has been occurring over the last few months at the QS buildings, it has become a dangerous site.
“If they are demolishing it, it’s good news. If Asda can give the people of Chorley the start date (for work on the supermarket), that would also be great news.”
Phil Bartram, a spokesman for Asda, said: “We will be starting demolition on the site in September, or October, which will be the beginning of the development in Chorley.
“We are looking forward to bring more supermarket choice to the people of Chorley.
“It will see the redevelopment of a unused area of land in the town centre. We are also looking forward to offering more parking options for people in the town.”
Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of the council, said: “I will be happy when I see it happen, because we have been trying to put pressure on Asda to say when it is going to clear the site ready for redevelopment.
“We have been told this will happen in September and we hope the company can stick with that schedule.”