Civic square vision moves a step closer

Artist's impression of proposed Chorley Civic Square
Artist's impression of proposed Chorley Civic Square
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This is the vision of a new Chorley civic square - which has come a step closer.

The planned square - opposite the town hall - is a top council priority. Its creation has been boosted after councillors gave the go-ahead for Oak House - on the corner of Market Street and High Street - to be demolished.

Chorley Council purchased Oak House and the surrounding land to redevelop into a car park.

The building is now set to be demolished to make way for 28 parking spaces, which will add to the 19 spaces already created on the adjoining car park on the corner of High Street and Cleveland Street.

However, a new civic square is dependent on the Gala Bingo site becoming available and talks between council leaders and Gala over relocating the bingo hall are continuing.

Gala Bingo holds a long lease on the building and has indicated it wants to remin there. The new car parking plans do not affect Gala Bingo, which will remain open while the Oak House site is being developed.

Coun Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “As part of the Market Walk extension scheme, we committed to providing sufficient car parking to support

the new build and existing businesses and the purchase and redevelopment of Oak House is one of a number of options we are progressing.

“Oak House does have a lot of history behind it but inside it is now office space and is not fit for the purpose of modern day retailers or businesses. Eventually, the plan is to create a civic square in that location but for now it will provide extra parking in the centre of town.

“We want to be ambitious for Chorley and give the residents of the whole borough a town centre that they can be proud of. The work taking place at the moment, including developing Market Walk, creating Chorley Youth Zone and improving streets like Fazakerley Street, will make our town centre into a place where people want to spend their leisure time and do their shopping rather than going to neighbouring towns and cities.”

The council is also exploring options to further increase car parking, including making the United Reform Church car park into a public car park and transforming Apex House on Arley Street into parking spaces and introducing a park and ride scheme, additional to the 54 spaces already made available on Hollinshead Street.

Additionally, people will start to see changes to Fazakerley Street in the town centre from next week as work starts on improving the street and replacing the paving from Tuesday 18 April.

“Our plans to improve the town centre are now taking shape with people starting to see work taking place,” added Coun Bradley.

“What we’d encourage people to do is support us in this and shop local where you can – we can put investment in to improve the facilities but we need residents to come and spend their money here to support local traders, create new jobs and keep money in the local economy.”