Chorley Market Walk: leisure outlet lined up as the latest addition

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A bowling alley and adventure golf course look set to be the next additions to Chorley’s Market Walk shopping centre extension.

In a surprise announcement on Facebook, local business owners Ian and Lorraine Kearney revealed plans to open the Escape Entertainment Venue in one of the units currently under construction. The outlet will also feature retro arcade games, pool tables, live music, a bar and food area.

Work is at an advanced stage on the Market Walk extension

Work is at an advanced stage on the Market Walk extension

The couple already run the Cheeky Monkeys Family Entertainment and Childcare Centre in Whittle-le-Woods.

In a statement, Mr. Kearney said he is hoping the venue will attract a diverse range of customers.

“I know that leisure time for all age groups is changing and the combination of at least three different and innovative experiences will deliver the ideal solution for families, groups of friends and even corporate team building events.

“The experience-based venue is part of a shift nationally for more innovative multi-use spaces that cater for all age ranges and, more importantly, make the likes of the town centre a place people want to return to – with the variety of activities available being the key.

“I have spent the last few months researching the best suppliers who can deliver an outstanding finish that will create the wow factor to compliment the other operators in the new Market Walk extension development and I can’t wait to get the contract finalised and get started on site.”

The local democracy reporting service understands that a heads of terms agreement is the next stage of the process to be completed before the contract can be signed.

If the deal goes ahead, it would mean more than 70 percent of the floorspace in the extension - and half of its eight units - had been filled ahead of an expected opening in December.

That would take the development past the point at which it would break even on rental income from tenants. If the centre is fully occupied, it is estimated that it will generate £300,000 per year for the council’s coffers.

As things stand, a significant proportion of the £15m extension will be filled with leisure destinations. Reel Cinemas have signed up provide to a six-screen venue and restaurant chain Loungers has publicly committed to the scheme, but is yet to sign a contract.

The proposed Escape Entertainment Venue will revolve around a six-lane bowling alley and 18-hole adventure golf course.

Chorley Council leader, Alistair Bradley, said he was “delighted” to have an offer on the table to take one of the larger units in the extension.

“If it does go ahead, it will provide another attraction to get more people into the town centre.

“We’ve got lots of interest in the remaining units and we’re making sure we get the right businesses for the town centre before committing to any deals.

“Everyone knows the retail sector is struggling and we need to give people a different reason to come to the town centre, other than just shopping – so moving the focus to leisure is the right way to go.

“The cinema, coupled with restaurants and now the potential for adventure golf and bowling, brings a completely different offer to the centre and gives the town a real boost as work on the extension continues at pace,” Cllr Bradley added.

M&S Food will also have a presence in the extension, after re-committing to the project last year, having previously paused a decision about whether or not to sign up.