Chorley's iconic Astley Hall will undergo a major transformation to secure the future of the historic building.
Chorley Council, which owns the Grade I listed building, is investing £1.7 million as part of the coming year’s budget to carry out repairs to safeguard the historic hall for future generations.
The investment will also see major improvements to the visitor experience, as well as the creation of a museum shop, which will help to make the site more sustainable.
Coun Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We see Astley Hall and Coach House as a major part of the borough’s history but also a vital part of the future for the visitor economy and that’s why we are committing major investment to preserve and improve it for years to come.
“Buildings like this need major work every 60/70 years and we are at that time in the Hall’s life that it needs a major overhaul to set it up for the next generation.
“Some of the work will be quite dramatic as we need to repair the front of the building and some will help us to make the site sustainable by ensuring it provides an offer for visitors that is fit for the modern age.”
The council has submitted two bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which were knocked back, so the authority is going to fund the work itself to ensure the building has a long term future.
The bids were supported by huge amounts of feedback from residents and visitors and all that information is being used to direct the improvements planned for the site, which sits in the beautiful grounds of Astley Park.
“One of the main reasons the HLF didn’t back our bid was the uncertainty around what condition the brick is in behind the render on the front of the Hall,” explained Coun Wilson.
“We know how important the Hall is to the people of Chorley so we’re going to fund the work and once the render has been removed and we know what lies beneath we hope the HLF will consider another bid as this is a building of historical significance.
“We’d also like to thank the thousands of people who took part in the consultation and gave us their thoughts on the future of the Hall and Coach House complex.
“This won’t go to waste because it demonstrates how much people value the site and it will influence our plans going forward.”
The investment will cover improvements to the hall as well as work to bring Ackhurst Lodge back into use and look at the creation of an adventure golf course.