Chorley Council is set to decide the future of the town centre

An artist's impression
An artist's impression
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A Marks & Spencer could still be on the cards for Chorley.

The retailer has come back to Chorley Council to say that it is still interested in bringing a site to the market town, although under a different deal.

It comes as councillors are gearing up to determine the future of the Market Walk extension tonight (Tuesday, January 23). Shopping centre owner Chorley Council has been reviewing its multi-million pound development amid changes taking place in the wider retail market.

The meeting will also see plans for decked car parking on Friday Street and Portland Street discussed as the council makes one of its biggest decisions on the town’s future.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of the borough authority, said: “The decision we make on Tuesday will set our town centre up for the future and it is vitally important we get it right.

“A lot has happened over the last few weeks and we’ve seen more interest in the development and Marks & Spencer has come back to us and told us they do still want to come to Chorley.

“It is important we reflect on where we are, consider this against what the future holds for town centres and which of the options will best support our existing traders and help attract new businesses and visitors.”

The three options on the table to be discussed are to continue with the extension at the earliest opportunity in its existing design, to commission a partial redesign of the layout to increase flexibility in lettings and then continue to build at the earliest opportunity or to stop and reinstate the Flat Iron car park with a permanent finish.

The report to councillors also outlines options for increasing the number of parking spaces in the town centre, something which is vital ahead of any further development work taking place.

“We know it is important to create as much parking as possible so as well as the extra 28 spaces on the Royal Oak site, we are going to discuss creating a decked car park on Friday Street and Portland Street, which will mean we would have more spaces ready in time for any further development work, should we choose to proceed,” said coun Bradley.

“If we do press ahead with the extension we’ve been able to re-order some of the other town centre improvement projects so the total cost of the extension and wider improvements would all fit within the previously agreed budget of £16 million.

“We’ll update everyone once a decision is made and if the extension is to be built it could be delivered for late 2019.”