A local Lancashire newspaper has recently learned that its local Gala Bingo hall and neighbouring premises may well be flattened to make way for a major redevelopment in the town centre of Chorley.
The Chorley Guardian believes that the local council, which owns the land the buildings reside on, is currently in talks about the club’s future, and one option is demolition. In 2012, the site was badly affected by a fire, which raged through the buildings and rendered many of them unsafe. Demolition crews were called in to raze Cash Converters and the Amalfi Italian Restaurant, leaving much of the land lying empty ever since.
Now, the council is considering redeveloping the site, which lies on the corner of the High Street and Market Street, although its deputy head, Councillor Peter Wilson, told reporters there are currently “no firm plans”. He did admit, however, that the council wants to promote the town centre, and as part of its strategy, it is considering all available sites. Following the fire, Mr. Wilson is keen to see the land redeveloped “to maximise its potential” and help “see the town centre grow.”
Sources at the Chorley newspaper believe that the council has been in contact with Gala Bingo, who hold a 99-year lease for the land, as well as Northern Trust, which holds a 999-year lease for the bingo club’s neighbouring buildings, to discuss plans for the future. The local Traders Alliance thinks that businesses in the area “would welcome the move,” and believes that the site could be put to good use by retail and leisure companies, and also incorporate a number of modern apartments. The Alliance’s chairman, Malcolm Allen, describes the current appearance of the location as “a bit of an eyesore,” and says it’s “a shame to see it sat empty.”
As well as the Gala Bingo hall, there is also a charity shop, estate agents, and bar on the site, which local businessman, Nigel Clare, thinks could provide the town with long-term benefits by being put to commercial use. Mr. Clare believes that a new hotel with an on-site restaurant and more independent shops would attract more people into Chorley, and help boost the local the economy.
If you live in or near this Lancashire town, do you agree with the council’s potential plans for redeveloping the land? Perhaps you’ve played at the bingo hall in the past? If so, where would you go to play instead?