Is Chorley missing a tourism trick by not having a town guide?

A Chorley resident believes that the borough is failing to capitalise on its new-found fame after last weekend’s G7 Speakers’ Summit by not having an official town guide.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 6:03 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 6:04 pm

Eighty-four-year-old Graham Archer says he has previously called on Chorley Council to invest in a printed leaflet – and accompanying online version – in order promote all that the area has to offer.

As a champion of what he describes as “a wonderful town” he was delighted to see Chorley come under the global spotlight during the international conference at Astley Hall – but dismayed that it did not have what he says should be a standard marketing tool for any self-respecting market town.

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Graham Archer with examples of the kind of guides produced by other market towns and from which he believes Chorley could benefit (image: Neil Cross)

Graham claims that a hard copy guide would benefit those who have made their way to Chorley and are deciding what to do when they get there – with the online version helping to tempt visitors in the first place.

He is particularly unimpressed with the borough’s current internet presence as part of the wider tourism sites for Lancashire and the North West.

“There is hardly anything available to publicise the town and take advantage [of the G7]. We have known for a while that the world’s attention would be on us and we should have had a guide.

“I put ‘Chorley town guide’ into a search engine and was taken to the Visit North West site – that even mentions Botany Bay, which has been shut for ages.

“If you go to the Check Out Chorley site, it gives you half a dozen dates for things that are on this month – and then invites you to download a copy of a magazine dated March 2020.”

Graham, who originally hails from the Midlands but has lived in Chorley for over 30 years, says that “plans are afoot” for the town’s traders to produce their own guide independent of the council – and he has been gathering literature from his travels to other market towns as examples to help shape the design.

“One of the most important things is for it to have a good map. When people get here, we haven’t got a tourist office any more – so we need to have shops giving out guides and put them in leaflet dispensers in places like the bus and railway station.

“Chorley is in a prime position to take advantage of the fact that we have a market which is thriving. The council have invested in that to their credit – and they really should hang their hat on it.”

Malcolm Allen, chair of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, told the Lancashire Post and Chorley Guardian that retailers in the town are working with the council to produce a map for visitors.

Cllr Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said that it had been “an incredible couple of months” for the borough – and that there was plenty more to come.

“With the return of the Chorley Flower Show – which saw over 14,000 people come along to Astley Park – the amazing G7 Speakers’ conference, which placed the borough firmly on the world’s stage, and the charming Picnic in the Park for all the family, we have had more people flock to the centre than ever before. We’ve got some incredible events coming up, including Chorley’s Big Weekend and, of course, the return of our annual Christmas activities.

“We’re passionate about our town centres and we are constantly showcasing what Chorley has to offer. We are in regular communication with our businesses and traders and alongside a raft of promotional activities and events which have been and are planned to take place, we’re also developing a new version of our town centre map.

“We do have current maps available – however, we’re working with traders to get their views and input on a new-look map. This map will be available throughout the centre and at key areas such as in our car parks.

“Chorley is an incredible place with lots to offer, including our incredible market, our abundance of popular high street stores and leisure and entertainment facilities and I look forward to welcoming people to the borough over the autumn/winter season,” Cllr Wilson added.

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