Chorley pub where violence repeatedly flared will become flats

A Chorley town centre pub that closed down after a spate of violent incidents is to be converted into flats.
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The Imperial shut its doors in September 2022 after a summer during which seven separate altercations were reported to the police - at least three of which occurred, or began, inside the Union Street venue.

On one occasion there was a 15-strong punch-up between a group of men in front of the premises, while on another, three women left the pub and crossed the road before fighting on the Flat Iron car park. CCTV also captured the moment a man and woman traded blows in a side street next to the hostelry.

The Imperial, on Union Street, has not welcomed customers for 18 months (image: Google)The Imperial, on Union Street, has not welcomed customers for 18 months (image: Google)
The Imperial, on Union Street, has not welcomed customers for 18 months (image: Google)
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In November 2022, Chorley Council’s Licensing Act sub-committee ruled that the troubled venue could re-open, but with a series of strict conditions imposed on its operation - including the use of door staff on the busiest nights. However, the pub remained closed after a failure to find new tenants to run it.

Now, the borough authority’s planning committee has given the go-ahead to turn the two-storey building into nine apartments.

Thomas Clark, development director for Atlantic Property Group Ltd., which bought The Imperial building three months ago, says the finances “didn't add up” to bring it back into community use. However, he told the committee that it was in “a great spot” for the residential conversion being proposed.

“[We are] looking to turn what is currently an eyesore into a prominent fixture in the town centre,” Mr. Clark said.

CCTV captures a fight in the street alongside The Imperial pub on 1st September, 2022 (footage shown during Chorley Council licensing committee hearing)CCTV captures a fight in the street alongside The Imperial pub on 1st September, 2022 (footage shown during Chorley Council licensing committee hearing)
CCTV captures a fight in the street alongside The Imperial pub on 1st September, 2022 (footage shown during Chorley Council licensing committee hearing)
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Chorley North West ward councillor Aaron Beaver said The Imperial had not done well in the few years before its closure “either through management [or] its clientele”, adding that “the drink culture in Chorley has changed”.

“No-one likes to see a pub closed down, but if it’s going to…it’s best to use it appropriately,” Cllr Beaver said.

The committee heard a resident’s concerns about the prospect of nine or more cars belonging to future occupants of the flats looking for somewhere to park on Fellery Street, alongside the building, where space was already said to be limited.

A group of women grapple on the Flat Iron car park in the early hours of 4th September, 2022 - having left The Imperial moments earlier  (CCTV shown at Chorley Council Licensing Act sub-committee meeting)A group of women grapple on the Flat Iron car park in the early hours of 4th September, 2022 - having left The Imperial moments earlier  (CCTV shown at Chorley Council Licensing Act sub-committee meeting)
A group of women grapple on the Flat Iron car park in the early hours of 4th September, 2022 - having left The Imperial moments earlier (CCTV shown at Chorley Council Licensing Act sub-committee meeting)

Committee member Cllr Alan Whittaker said he feared the issue could prove “significant inconvenience” for those living nearby, but fellow member Cllr Craige Southern suggested a development like the one proposed was likely to attract those without a car. Planning officers concluded that the town centre location, close to the borough’s bus and railway stations, reduced the need for parking.

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Meanwhile, Cllr Danny Gee praised the applicant for including a two-bed apartment within the scheme - a property type he said was “lacking” in Chorley.

The application was approved by a majority, with just one abstention from Cllr Whittaker.