Community hub finally on cards

Gillibrand community centre plans
Gillibrand community centre plans

Long-awaited plans for a community centre in Chorley have finally been put forward - after a four-year consultation.

Residents say the much-needed facilities on fields close to their houses are long overdue.

The idea has been in the pipeline for four years after Redrow Homes and Taylor Wimpey said they would provide a centre as part of the Gillibrands housing development.

They have finally submitted the plans to Chorley Council this month following years of disputes over where it should be built.

The portion of land identified for the new facility is located between Ennerdale Road and Lakeland Gardens, and there are also plans for a 16-space car park.

The community centre will take up around 240sq metres.

Mum-of-two Alana Clarke, 38, said: “This is long-overdue for the area, and the kids have been missing out for a long time.

“Teens hanging around the streets has always been an issue here, and it’s intimidating for some people.

“They drink and smoke, and it’s horrendous because there are big groups of them, but they’ve nowhere else to go.”

She added: “It’s brilliant news that the planning application has finally been submitted, and I think a community centre would help this area no end.

“I started a petition and campaign for this years ago, but it’s still at the forefront of people’s minds, and everyone’s talking about how we could be getting our community centre at last.”

The single-storey building, incorporating a community hall, meeting room and changing facilities for sporting activities on the playing fields, will be owned and operated by the council.

Coun Anthony Gee said: “This has taken a long time, but it’ll be marvellous for the area if it gets the go-ahead.

“We want to bring the communities of Gillibrands, Tootle Street and Liptrott together. The estates have been improving in terms of anti-social behaviour.

“But we want to help the community spirit even more, and I think this is the way forward.”

A spokesman for Redrow Homes and Taylor Wimpey said: “The planning application for the community centre has been submitted following extensive discussions with the council, residents’ groups and ward councillors.

“Subject to approval it will be a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.”

Coun Alan Cullens, who is responsible for planning at Chorley Council, said: “The council has received a planning application for the community centre and it will now be dealt with in the normal way.

“Members of the public will have the opportunity to put their comments forward and all responses will be considered before a decision is made.”