Retail centre to get big revamp

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Residents of a Chorley village are celebrating after plans have been unveiled to breathe new life into a retail centre in the area.

The owners of the Carrington Centre in Eccleston have put forward proposals to bring the popular shopping spot up to scratch in a major revamp.

The new retail scheme, based around the site of a former cotton mill, will include a grocery store of up to 35,000 square feet and up to a further 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Northern Trust, the company behind the plans, has also added into the proposal plans for a brand new community centre within the Carrington Centre.

In 1997, after years of legal wrangling, Chorley Council’s planning chiefs recommended approval for a scheme to demolish St Mary’s Church Hall on Lawrence Lane and replace it with 11 two-storey homes.

In 2005, residents attempted to buy the derelict building in order to build a new hall to be used by the whole community but they were gazumped.

The village has been without a dedicated place to hold events, meet up and socialise since the former village hall in was knocked down.

Former Eccleston councillor, Alan Whittaker, said: “I am very pleased that the Carrington Centre redevelopment will include a new community centre. Eccleston is an urban village and there is a need for a centre to be used by all sections of the community, from young people to the elderly.

“There’s no question that this will be a huge boost for the village and I hope Chorley Borough Council and Eccleston Parish Council will recognise the benefits of a facility like this and support it.”

Jill Hatch has lived in Eccleston her whole life and is youth group worker who volunteers at the Youth Centre in Draper Avenue.

The centre opens to teenagers two nights a week and is a safe place for them to socialise and play pool.

Jill said: “A new community centre would be great news for the village.

“At the moment if someone’s holding a function or a group wants to meet, they have to go out of the village but it would be really good to have somewhere nearby.”

A spokesperson for Northern Trust said: “The aim is to create a village centre with modern commercial features in a landscaped setting, retaining the village feel.”

Central to the scheme will be a new retail centre comprising a replacement local grocery store and a parade of shops.

The library will be accommodated and new office suites will occupy upper floors.”

A public consultation will be held on Monday January 31 between 4-8pm in the former bistro shop within the Carrington Centre.