WORK is progressing on transforming the land by junction 8 of the M61 to turn it into a destination that will create hundreds of new jobs and attract new businesses and visitors into the borough.
The area where the iconic Botany Bay building stands and land to the east side of the canal has long been ear-marked for future development and a masterplan has now been drawn up detailing how the development could look.
Chorley Council has been co-ordinating the masterplanning of the site with a view to the landowners submitting a planning application in 2017.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “This site has been identified for development for many years and I’m pleased to see progress is being made.
“We know how important it is that we open up new land for development that will create jobs for local people and that’s why we have been working hard behind the scenes with the landowners to discuss how the site should be developed.
“We’ve managed to get it to a stage where a masterplan has been drawn up and we will continue to represent the interests of residents in Great Knowley and the surrounding area to make sure any future development is suitable for the local area.”
Work started on master planning the site earlier this year and residents and businesses will be able to input their views and ideas as part of a consultation process, which will take place once a planning application has been submitted.
The council has an open mind about what the site could look like but it has the potential for retail, leisure, employment and housing, new infrastructure and increased accessibility to the canal as part of a high quality waterfront development.
“As the plans progress it is really important that residents and businesses put their views forward,” said Councillor Bradley.
“It is an exciting opportunity for Chorley and it’s really important that we look at ways we can create new jobs for the people growing up in our borough so that we don’t lose the talent to other parts of the country.
“One way we can do that is to work with landowners to bring these development sites forward so that investors see Chorley as a forward-thinking borough and a place they want to locate their businesses.”
The masterplan will establish land uses for the site, which will be used to determine future planning applications.
A report went to Chorley Council’s Executive Cabinet yesterday to update members on progress.
A planning application is expected to be submitted next year.