Plans for new wedding venue at historic site in Chorley

A Grade I-listed building in Chorley could be turned into a wedding venue – if an initial trial proves that it is a viable venture.

Friday, 1st May 2020, 6:30 pm
Updated Friday, 1st May 2020, 6:31 pm

The owners of Hoghton Tower have lodged plans to repair and redevelop the ‘Great Barn’ on the estate to meet what is described as the “high level of demand for weddings to be held in historic buildings”.

The tower itself already plays host to matrimonial celebrations and is expected to remain as a wedding destination in its own right.

But in spite of the anticipated popularity of a second venue, a planning application submitted to Chorley Council reveals that the proposed works will be carried out in two phases – and completed only if sufficient interest is shown in the sister location.

The Great Barn at Hoghton Tower (image: Mark L MacDonald, under Creative Commons licence)

For an initial period, wedding guests would be welcomed into a temporary marquee which would be installed within the late seventeenth century building.

But before that can happen, essential works would have to be carried out, which are the subject of the current application. The most significant proposed change is the removal of a mezzanine floor, which is not an original feature of the barn.

If the venue becomes a wedding location in the long-term, permanent catering space would be added, along with additional facilities for guests. These are likely to be located in an adjoining cart house or stables, with internal access being created through to the barn itself – work which would require further consent at the time.

There are a total of 16 outbuildings either attached to or surrounding the barn, an unspecified number of which are proposed to be used as part of the wedding facilities. An application has been submitted for the “flexible” use of the remainder – either as outlets for retail, professional services or food and drink or as offices.

Most of these additional buildings are said to be in a “reasonable” state of repair and any works necessary to adapt them for the purpose for which they are eventually used will require separate permission.

However, those which are directly attached to the barn – and also of Grade I status – are in poor condition. One of them is in need of complete rebuilding, while the stables will also have to undergo work to their roof, both of which are covered by the current application.

The Great Barn is currently used only once a month for a farmers’ market and the de Hoghton family are said to be “very conscious of their role as custodians of heritage assets”.

The applicants were approached for further comment via their planning agent.