Warning over town’s £12.9m redevelopment plan

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A TOWN’S former Tory chief has issued a warning over a proposed shopping centre development.

Councillors are due to decide on the £12.9 million Chorley’s Market Walk extension at a Full Council meeting on Tuesday night after changes were made to the application.

However Peter Malpas, who stepped down as chairman of the Chorley Conservatives earlier in the year, has urged caution over the decision.

He voiced his concerns as plans were released to invest £25million into Preston’s Fishergate Shopping Centre complex. The plans include a new Vue cinema as well as shops and restaurants.

Chorley Council’s plans for Market Walk also include a new cinema as well as a number of retail units.

Reel Cinemas has committed to a 20-year lease in the new Market Walk complex.

Should councillors agree to the updated plans, the application will be discussed at the next development control committee meeting on Tuesday, September 29.

Ahead of the crucial meeting, Mr Malpas, who is a former Chorley councillor, said: “The council needs to consider the plans and look at the how it will impact the town.

“With the news of the Fishergate development which is so very close and convenient in travel time, it is another great reason why Chorley councillors need to scrutinise their own council’s plans further.

“The development is happening on the main Flat Iron car park and that will impact the town, it is only natural to want to park as close to the shops as possible.”

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “We are aware of plans to improve neighbouring towns and cities and that is why it is vital we invest in our town centre.

“Reel Cinemas has already committed to a 20-year lease should the Market Walk extension go ahead and I’m sure they would not be interested in the scheme if it wasn’t viable.

“The proposals also include the creation of new car parking that would mean we would have more parking spaces than are currently available to visitors. Is Mr Malpas suggesting we should just let our town centre decline and that our residents should go to Preston rather than having a development they can be proud of in their own town centre?”