Conservative Councillors call for a review on the Market Walk Extension
During last Tuesday evening’s Full Council Meeting the Conservative Group called upon the Labour Administration, to hold off signing the construction contact which will enable the building work to progress on the Flat Iron Market Walk Extension. Due to significant financial risk coupled with the Council’s failure to get sufficient interest by national retailers and leisure operators means the Conservative Group have a called for a re-think.
Following the failure of a major retailer to legally proceed it was revealed at the meeting that signed contracts stood at only 28%. Despite this the ruling Labour Administration agreed to proceed with the project when another major retailer signed up, taking the lettings to less than 50%. Their decision based on speculation that other tenants could come along. The Conservative Group requested that the scheme should only proceed when the previously agreed contract level of 75% was met.
The Leader of the Conservative Group Councillor Alan Cullens commented ‘The Council now runs a high risk of spending over of £16m of taxpayer’s money on a scheme that could end up with tenants that will not attract new shoppers or at best show minimal financial return.
We fully agree that the town centre needs significant investment however, this should be done to enhance the existing unique offer in Chorley, provided by the existing independent traders and markets and not national chains.
In view of the previous decision, to only proceed at 75% exchange of contracts, having been overturned, we are now left with a scenario whereby the planned public realm improvement works are to be watered down. Significant amounts of money raised by this Council, through developer contributions, will be spent to prop up the scheme and not to improve the areas that have had to endure heavy development.
Labour appear bent on a speculative project using the residents of Chorley’s money. How long will it be, before we in Chorley, as the last Labour Government did, left a letter ‘I’m afraid there is no money left, Good Luck.’
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