Business park and jobs set for rubble site

Coun Terry Brown at the mill building in Chorley
Coun Terry Brown at the mill building in Chorley
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Campaigners say plans for a new business park on the site of a former mill building could revive part of Chorley.

The W M Lawrence and Sons building on Lyons Lane was one of the town’s last remaining textile manufacturers when it was demolished in May 2010 – ending its 160-year history.

Since then the 2.2-acre site has been left derelict and was reduced to mounds of rubble and rubbish.

Now, Elmwood Properties has put in an application for a mixed-use development including 10 new starter industrial units, three refurbished units and an employment site.

It will also include 10 homes and will be the second phase of a scheme for the site, as an application for 14 properties was rubber-stamped by council chiefs in November 2011.

Coun Terry Brown, who represents the Chorley East ward at Chorley Council, and was concerned that the site was just lying vacant, said: “I think it is important that we welcome any development that could create employment and industry to the area. The site has been an eyesore for a couple of years since it was knocked down so news of the plans is great.

“A lot of industry has left Chorley so small businesses like these units will provide quite a few jobs for local people which is much-needed. Also, there is living proof that business parks like this are successful in this area because there is one on Stump Lane nearby.”

Gwynne Furlong, of the Chorley Chamber of Commerce, added: “We are short of start-up space for small businesses in Chorley. I understand that from the council we get more small businesses than other parts of Lancashire.

“If we get accommodation for them to move in then they will not need to go elsewhere. This new scheme can potentially give a boost to the local economy in the area.”

The move comes just a week after Elmwood Properties was given the green light to build 49 houses on the site of another historic Chorley landmark - the former Initial Washrooms site on Harpers Lane.

The Guardian tried to contact Elmwood Properties but no-one was available at the time of going to press.

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