Proposals for a multi-million pound extension to Chorley’s Market Walk shopping precinct are a step closer to becoming a reality.
A planning application has been submitted by owners Chorley Council to its planning department for the £10m development of the shopping area and nearby land.
“If the plans are approved, then the development would boost the town centre by offering things that aren’t already available in the town centre, such as the multiplex cinema which has already signed up.”Gary Hall, chief executive of Chorley Council
As part of the scheme, the council’s offices on Union Street would be demolished, as well as Shopmobility units, a public toilet kiosk and an electricity sub-station.
It would see the erection of three buildings for restaurants, leisure, retail and offices on the Flat Iron car park, land to the south and the site of the council offices.
The proposals also include a temporary car park on the council offices site, relocating the Chorley Pals statue and other work such as landscaping.
National chain Reel Cinema has already announced it intends to open a six-screen complex in the shopping precinct as part of the extension.
It was the first business to declare its commitment to the scheme and will enter a 20-year lease.
Council bosses hope to attract big names to the development, including well-known restaurants, and say it will create more than 220 jobs.
They have previously said work will not start on the site until they have secured lettings for at least 65 per cent of the new units.
It is hoped the new businesses will encourage more people to visit Chorley town centre, rather than spending their money in other towns nearby.
A document submitted as part of the application states: “The application site represents a unique opportunity within the context of a fine grain market town such as Chorley to accommodate the scale of retail and leisure development needed to reflect the aspirations of residents.”
While work is taking place, the outdoor market could be relocated from the Flat Iron car park to another part of the town centre.
It is suggested it could move to Fazakerley Street, Cleveland Street and Lower Chapel Street, and would be relocated before work starts on the site.
Gary Hall, the council’s chief executive, said: “The application for the Market Walk extension has now been submitted.
“We’ve done a lot of consultation and we’ve listened to what residents and the traders have told us particularly with regard to car parking and keeping the market.
“People still have the chance to put forward their views on the application which can be seen on the council’s website chorley.gov.uk/planning or by visiting the civic offices in Union Street.
“All comments will be taken into consideration by committee members in the summer and it will still be subject to approval by full council, even if the committee grants permission.
“If the plans are approved, then the development would boost the town centre by offering things that aren’t already available in the town centre, such as the multiplex cinema which has already signed up.”