Former bingo hall site in Chorley town centre to be demolished

A former bingo hall in Chorley is set to be demolished after the site was earmarked for development.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 9:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 9:58 am
The former Buzz Bingo site in Market Street, Chorley is set to be demolished

The former home of Buzz Bingo in Market Street will be demolished as part of regeneration plans for the town centre, said Chorley Council.

The decision to tear the building down came after Buzz Bingo closed during lockdown and surrendered its lease, returning ownership of the site to Chorley Council.

The Council said building inspectors visited the site to see what might be done with the building, but surveys discovered that it was riddled with asbestos.

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Chorley Council had previously earmarked the site for redevelopment, with plans put forward in 2017 to create a new civic square in its place. Pic: Chorley Council

The asbestos and other problems mean the building is in serious disrepair and is in danger of becoming a public health hazard, said the Council.

Council chiefs said adapting and remodelling the building would be too expensive, so a decision to demolish the building has been made.

It said the site will likely be redeveloped with funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, with plans to create "something exciting" to help boost the local economy once the pandemic is over.

What has the Council said?

A spokesman for Chorley Council said: "We just wanted to update everyone on the former Buzz Bingo site in Chorley town centre.

"As many of you will know the company closed the site over the summer due to the pandemic and the building is now back in our ownership after they surrendered the lease.

"We’ve undertaken detailed surveys to see what we can do with the building and these have revealed significant amounts of asbestos and a lot of other problems – essentially the building is in danger of falling into serious disrepair and becoming a public health hazard.

"To try and remodel or adapt the building would be too expensive so we are planning to take down the building while we review future options for the site.

"A further reason for the demolition is that we have been invited to make a bid for the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, which could provide us with a significant amount of money to regenerate this part of the town centre.

"To have a good chance of getting some of this funding we would need to have a site that is ready to go so if we get on with preparing the site for redevelopment it will give us a much better chance of being successful.

"We know many people will have happy memories of the building but it is not fit for purpose in the modern age and we want to create something exciting in that area that will help the local economy to recover and attract new businesses and visitors once the pandemic is over."

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What will replace the bingo hall?

Chorley Council had previously earmarked the site for redevelopment, with plans put forward in 2017 to create a new public square in its place.

It had said plans for a new civic square - which were described as "a top council priority" - would be dependent on the bingo hall being demolished.

The Council demolished the building next door, Oak House, in 2018 to make way for a car park to support the New Market Walk extension.

But it maintained that plans for a new civic square was the preferred option for the site.

Speaking at the time, Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: "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."

But Chorley Council has said that these plans are now being "completely reviewed" in light of the government’s Future High Street Fund.