Chorley G7 Speakers' Summit: road closures, Astley Park changes - and who is footing the policing bill
Chorley residents are being warned to expect changes in the town centre and around Astley Hall as part of the operation to stage this weekend’s G7 Speakers’ Summit.
Several roads, a section of Astley Park and some park-based businesses will close in preparation for the three-day event – with the first of the measures coming into force on Wednesday afternoon.
It comes as the Lancashire Post and Chorley Guardian can reveal that discussions are taking place over who will fund Lancashire Constabulary’s contribution to the policing presence during the prestigious conference, which will see Chorley MP and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle welcoming counterparts from around the world to his home town.
The county’s police and crime commissioner, Andrew Snowden, says that negotiations are being held with Whitehall in an attempt to ensure that the Lancashire force is not left out of pocket.
“This is a significant event for Lancashire and, indeed, Chorley. The Constabulary are fully engaged in ensuring that the event is safe and successful and shows our county for the welcoming and beautiful place it is.
“This obviously comes with an additional policing cost for Lancashire Constabulary. We are in dialogue with the Home Office with a view to securing a special grant to cover these costs,” Mr. Snowden added.
The area around Astley Hall will be fenced off from 4.30pm on Wednesday. All other public access to the park will be unchanged, with people able to walk in both directions from the town centre to Astley Village.
Businesses in and around Astley Hall will close at the same time, reopening to the public at 1pm on Sunday. Hallgate car park will be closed for the same period, but all other car parks for Astley Park will remain open.
Some town centre routes will be blocked off between 10am and 6pm on Saturday and from 8.30am until 1pm on Sunday – Union Street, from the library to the Town Hall and the roads surrounding the Buzz Bingo site. There will also be no access down Market Street from the Town Hall.
Residents can expect a highly visible police presence in the park across the weekend as officers are working closely with Parliament, the Speaker’s Office and other partners to facilitate a safe and secure event. A mobile police station and team will be based in the park.
Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said that the borough was “deeply honoured” to have been chosen to host what is its first international conference.
“We believe [Astley Hall] is the jewel in our crown and we are so proud that we will be able to show Speakers from across the world this special part of our heritage.
“Of course, an event on this scale does not come without some minor disruption and, as such, there will be some road closures around the town centre and the area around Astley Hall will be closed off to the public.
“We ask you all to be patient with this and encourage you to get into the spirit of the weekend and be proud to see Chorley on the world stage,” said Cllr Wilson.