SHOPPERS and businesses will start to get a glimpse of some of the changes to Chorley town centre as preparation work begins on redeveloping the Flat Iron to accommodate the extension to Market Walk shopping centre.
Over the next few months, Chorley Council will begin a trial of relocating some market stalls from the Flat Iron market to Chapel Street on the second Saturday of the month to coincide with the Food and Craft Market.
The trials will begin on Saturday 11 March and continue on Saturdays 8 April and 13 May with shoppers able to visit a wide range of stalls that are usually only in the town centre on a Tuesday.
The bigger changes to the Flat Iron markets will come after Easter when the entire Flat Iron Tuesday market will move to the opposite end of the Flat Iron car park on Tuesday 18 April before gradually relocating along Chapel Street, Cleveland Street and Fazakerley Street from June onwards.
The work to reconfigure the Flat Iron car park is being done in phases to minimise the disruption and ensure some parking spaces are still available. However, drivers will be encouraged to use nearby car parks, like Hollinshead Street, where possible while the work is ongoing.
The reconfiguration of the Flat Iron will start on the west side of the car park, near Booths, on 18 April, however, some trees around the Flat Iron will be taken down in March as part of the preparation work.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “These changes are vitally important to the redevelopment of the town centre but we’re introducing them in phases to cause as little disruption as possible.
“As the markets have always been an important part of Chorley’s identity, we want to make sure our plans to place the stalls along the streets work for both traders and shoppers before all of the stalls are temporarily relocated in June.
“If you are visiting the town centre when the Food and Craft Market is on, please also come and visit the other Flat Iron stalls on Chapel Street to see how it will work.
“The Market Walk extension is a massive project for the town centre so there will be some extensive preparation work to do before we officially start to build and that includes removing some of the existing trees that surround the Flat Iron.
All of these trees will be replaced as part of the new development with plans to plant even more.”
Work is also set to commence in late April to improve Fazakerley Street allowing for more market stalls to be accommodated there. In addition to this, the area around the bus station, Seymour Street and Theatre Walk, which runs between Peter Street and Market Street, will all see improvements over the coming months.
“We’re asking people to bear with us while this work is ongoing and to continue to visit and shop in the town centre,” added Coun Bradley.
“When the redevelopment of the town centre is complete, people will see a retail and leisure offer that builds upon the fantastic independent traders that we already have in town. The council is investing £17 million in the town centre with the aim of supporting and developing the local economy through revitalising the town centre.”