Husband and wife dental duo get permission for new Chorley practice
A new purpose-built dentist surgery is to be created on the outskirts of Chorley town centre.
It will replace the existing Southport Road Dental Practice and be built on land adjoining the facility, which is currently occupied by a bungalow.
Once that residential property is demolished, a new three-storey building will be put in its place – housing the dentists on the ground floor and five flats above.
Papers presented to Chorley Council’s planning committee show that objections were raised by locals over the potential for the proposal to worsen parking problems in the area. But a report by planning officers noted that the “minimal” on-site parking currently available at the practice will be replaced with a 17-space car park, serving both the surgery and flats.
Although five short of the recommended number of spaces for such a development, the plans were recommended for approval because the facility is in a location with good transport connections. Committee members also heard that the proposed closure of access from Shaftsbury Place – with all traffic entering and exiting via Southport Road – should “alleviate some of the concerns of residents”.
Rashmi Hickey, who co-owns the practice with her husband David, said better parking was one of several benefits which she hoped their new surgery would provide.
“Years ago, when the practice was under previous ownership, there weren’t any parking restrictions, so people could just stop at the front and pop in – but now there are double yellows.
“All the side streets further up into Chorley are also busier these days – so although we haven’t got a lot of spaces [under the new plans], it will make a bit of a difference and it will also allow us some disabled parking.
“There will also be better disabled access – we do have a ramp, but it would be good to be able to get some double doors which open electronically.
“It has taken a long time and we have kept thinking that next summer will be the one that we can start building – but even with this permission, the Covid situation means that it will probably be next year now before we can begin,” Rashmi explained.
The delay to date has, in part, been as a result of the “detailed negotiations [to ensure that] the proposed development is of a high quality design, more in-keeping with the character and appearance of the area than the existing bungalow”, planning services manager Adele Hayes told the meeting.
Committee members approved the scheme in spite of the fact that it does not “strictly comply” with the council’s usual policy on development within private residential gardens, which usually permits only extensions, one-for-one replacement of entire dwellings, or “infilling” of gaps in the street frontage.