Call for permanent car park on former Chorley bingo hall site

Chorley Market traders are calling for a planned new temporary car park in the town centre to become a permanent fixture.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 3:40 am
Updated Friday, 24th September 2021, 9:02 pm

It was announced last week that Chorley Council intends to create the facility on the site of the recently-demolished Buzz Bingo building omn Market Street opposite the town hall. The hope is to have the extra spaces ready for November in time for the Christmas lights switch-on.

However, longer-term options for the plot could include the creation of a civic square and seating area.

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Although no decisions have yet been taken, stallholders’ representative John Brennan says that the land is perfect for what he claims is much-needed additional parking for visitors who might otherwise struggle to access Chorley’s main shopping area.

“While some people have suggested turning it into somewhere to go and sit, the fact is that we have got a nice big park at Astley, not 50 yards away, for anybody wanting to do that.

“What we really need are more parking spaces, especially for the disabled and elderly. That would help encourage them to come into Chorley – because at the moment, if they have to park on Friday Street, it means crossing the dual carriageway [A6] and that does put people off.

“The stallholders wouldn’t object to maybe a third of the site being made into some kind of picnic area, so long as the rest was used for car parking,” said. Mr. Brennan, who has been a Chorley Market trader for over 50 years.

However, when the council revealed its plans for a temporary car park, comments on social media suggested that there were plenty of people who would prefer something different to occupy the vacant space on a more permanent basis.

Suggestions included units that could be offered to small businesses at affordable rents or a food hall and “makers’ market”.

The town square idea also attracted some support and, while some responses indicated that more parking would be welcomed, others bemoaned the idea for being unoriginal and not in-keeping with the need to reduce carbon emissions.

“Wow – did anyone guess this would become yet another car park?” asked one poster.

The temporary car park plans are due to be considered at a meeting of the full council next week.

Council leader Alistair Bradley said last week: “We’d be keen to hear what people think would work best for our town centre.

“We want to make sure we take time to get it right, as the way people use town centres will have changed for ever following the pandemic and this gives us a real opportunity to bring something to Chorley that will help support the longer term recovery and complement the recent developments in Market Walk and improvements to the markets.

“We think it is best to put it to use in the short term as a temporary car park while we start to see more people visiting and review what we do beyond that given how much the pandemic has changed the role of the town centre.”

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