Depot set for council takeover

The former Stagecoach depot, Eaves Lane, Chorley
The former Stagecoach depot, Eaves Lane, Chorley

The former Stagecoach bus depot looks set to be taken over by the council.

The move would result in the authority’s Bengal Street depot relocating to the site on Eaves Lane.

And that - as part of Chorley Council’s town centre masterplan - would most likely free up the Bengal Street depot to be redeveloped as a car park in the short-term at least.

The council feels it has a strong case for securing the former bus depot, which, it is understood, would cost about £400,000 - the freehold purchase funded within the existing Market Walk extension budget.

Councillors gave the green light at a meeting on Thursday.

Councillor Peter Wilson, deputy leader, said: “The former bus depot ticks all the boxes for us. We could move into it almost straight away and use it as our depot.

“It’s next to Tatton Community Centre which we already own and so improves our assets in that area, but more importantly for us it gives us the chance to free up a prime location in the town centre.

“This would then give us so many options as we seek to develop and improve the town centre with the Market Walk extension.

“We’ve been looking at our Bengal Street site for a number of years now, at how we can make the most of its location.

“We’ve looked at alternative places to move our depot to, but none of the alternatives have really been suitable.

“Moving our depot to the former Stagecoach depot I think would be ideal, but if for whatever reason it isn’t, then there would still be the potential for development which would improve the area.”

The Eaves Lane depot has been historically used for bus storage, repairing and cleaning. It has very large high sliding doors suitable for large vehicles to be stored and repaired, there are repairing trenches built in and offices, toilets, a canteen and kitchen facilities, plus there’s room for parking within the 0.6 acre site.

Councillor Wilson said: “We’ve been looking for sites in the town centre to make up for the loss of car parking spaces on the Flat Iron car park which is why we turned the derelict site on Cleveland Street into a car park.

“Our Bengal Street depot site could also be used create additional parking which would more than make up for the spaces lost to the Market Walk extension. However, this is not to say that other uses for the Bengal Street site would not be considered in the future as we develop and improve our town centre.”

Ward councillor Julia Berry described the proposed acquisition as “a coup” for the council.

She said: “It’s a building for that purpose, so there’s minimum costs to the council for this transfer.

“Straight away it gives us options for the future really.”

She added: “I’ve been in touch with Peter Wilson to ensure we keep the building maintained and secure, with CCTV and looking at whether that could be extended to Tatton Community Centre.”

Resident Terry Cuff, 81, who lives on Eaves Lane, opposite the depot, said: “The MP came here and suggested making a doctor’s surgery and car parking for it and I said that’s a good idea because there’s none at this end.”

Eileen Snape, 65, of Silverdale Road, said: “It’s been there all the time we’ve been here, thirty odd years and we’ve got quite used to it being there.

“We’ve thought are they going to build houses there? Houses would be okay, but it wouldn’t be private facing there.”

She said she wold not be against a doctor’s surgery being built.

Margaret Walker, 77, of Eaves Lane, said she would not like to see new houses or apartments, adding: “Someone was suggesting a doctor’s surgery. It saves people trailing. My doctor is Library House. Regent House is further away.”

Alexandra Darlington, 62, of Eaves Lane, said she would welcome a youth club.

“They seem to build a lot of houses, but not more amenities. You see these new estates going up and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to put those people as regards doctors and schools.”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire said: “We are in conversation with a number of potential suitors over the sale of the Eaves Lane site. There is currently no timeframe in place for the conclusion of any transaction.”