Critics hit back at plan to boost town

Market Street, Chorley
Market Street, Chorley

Critics have hit back at a six-month plan aimed at boosting Chorley’s trade.

Last week the Guardian revealed new measures would be taken to give an ‘emergency lift’ to Chorley’s dwindling town centre.

But critics have said the plans, which would include reopening Market Street to traffic, would be too expensive and make little difference in the short term.

Coun Peter Goldsworthy, leader of Chorley’s opposition Conservative group, said: “I found there was very little support for the idea of reopening Market Street (when we were in power), and I’m surprised the people in charge are talking about it.

“It will be very expensive for the council to fund because Market Street would need extra signs and things like a new zebra crossing if it were to reopen to traffic again. And there is no real demand to have it done.”

As part of a short-term plan, which is part of a wider scheme to regenerate the town centre, bosses at Chorley Council said they also wanted to look at lowering car parking charges in the town centre, creating a new 70-space car park at the back of the former McDonald’s site on Gillibrand Street, and hand cash incentives to existing businesses.

Coun Goldsworthy said: “We, the Conservatives, bought the land on Gillibrand Street. To think about turning it into a car park is madness. There is no lack of car parking in Chorley.”

Leader of Chorley Council, Coun Alistair Bradley, defended the move and said: “What we have done is ask the people who operate in the town centre what they think should be done.

“We needed to work out not just what we wanted to do, but what they have told us needs to be done. We set up the Town Centre Forum, which is made up not just of elected people but with people who have an interest in the town and know what it needs, and we really took on board what they have said.”