Controversial apartments close to Chorley Hospital given the go-ahead

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A run-down property in Chorley – which has been vacant for 17 years and was once intended to open as a care home – is set to be flattened and replaced with apartments.

Chorley Council’s planning committee has given the go-ahead for the two-storey development on Oak Drive in Hartwood after the applicant cut the proposed number of flats from 10 to eight.

Planning officers had recommended the proposal for approval, telling councillors that it would make “a significant visual improvement” to a building they described as being “somewhat dilapidated”.

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However, committee members had been given a similar message back in March when they decided to refuse the application for the larger scheme.

The property on Oak Drive in Chorley has been described as a "a blight" (image: Chorley CouncilThe property on Oak Drive in Chorley has been described as a "a blight" (image: Chorley Council
The property on Oak Drive in Chorley has been described as a "a blight" (image: Chorley Council
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Several residents once again opposed the plans, with one of them appealing to the committee to reject the revised version – primarily due to concerns over its impact on traffic and parking.

“[We] don’t object to residential developments in the Hartwood area… but this proposed plan isn’t consistent with the local area,” said Phil Loynes.

“Eight properties in the place of what would be appropriate for one or two should be rejected.”

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Chorley North and Astley ward councillor Adrian Lowe also raised concerns over the “horrendous” parking issues on the estate and said that the plot was more suited to a “single dwelling”.

He stressed that the current building had never operated as a care home – in spite of being given permission for that purpose – and had been derelict since 2004. The care home plan dates back to 1987.

Fourteen dedicated parking spaces are proposed for the apartments, along with a bike storage area – and that, coupled with the reduction in the number of flats, was sufficient to persuade councillors to give the plans the green light.

Committee member Martin Boardman asked a direct question of residents: “What do you want to see there? Because something is going to happen there eventually – one residential dwelling … is never going to wash on that site.”

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The committee heard that the new building will occupy a smaller area than the one it replaces and Cllr Alex Hilton welcomed a development which he described as having the potential to bring “much-needed staff” to the nearby Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

Meanwhile, Cllr Alistair Morwood – one of the other Chorley North and Astley representatives, but also a committee member – said that although he voted against the previous plan, at some point “something has to be done” about the state of the existing property.

“It’s sat there for years and it’s a blight on that part of the estate. Somewhere along the line, something has to give,” said Cllr Morwood, referring to the applicant’s reduction in the number of apartments in an attempt to make the proposal acceptable.

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