End of an era as Chorley maternity unit is demolished

Bulldozers have moved onto the grounds of Chorley Hospital and are busy demolishing its former maternity unit today (Friday, September 25).

Friday, 25th September 2020, 2:30 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 3:32 pm
Chorley Hospital's maternity unit being demolished today (Friday, September 24)
Chorley Hospital's maternity unit being demolished today (Friday, September 24)

After serving Chorley and the surrouding area for more than 50 years, the hospital's maternity unit is being reduced to rubble as part of plans for a new Birth Centre at the site off Preston Road.

Pictures from the hospital site show a crane and excavator pulling at the walls of the three-storey building and tearing it down.

The unit opened in 1970 and welcomed thouands of babies into the world before it was forced to close in February 2019.

Chorley Hospital's maternity unit being demolished today (Friday, September 24). Pic credit: Donna Wane

The decision to close the maternity unti came after workers tasked with carrying out repairs on the site discovered the building riddled with asbestos.

Hospital chiefs said the asbestos did not pose a risk to patients, visitors or staff, and daily air quality checks confirmed that there were no asbestos fibres in the atmosphere whilst it was in use.

But soon after, the fire service carried out safety checks and deemed the lift not safe to use, meaning staff were unable to access the Birth Centre on the third floor.

The maternity unit was closed and the building was sealed by specialist asbestos contractor as plans were drawn up for a new Birth Centre at the hospital.

Since its sudden closure last year, the birthing centre had temporarily been moved to a hospital site previously used by Busy Bees Nursery.

A new Birth Centre which has been under construction for some months is now nearing completion. An opening date has not yet been confirmed.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals say a new car park is planned to replace the maternity unit, with work scheduled for completion in early 2021.