FI Real Estate Management has scrapped plans for a 70-store retail village in its redevelopment of the Chorley site due to “continued decline of the retail sector”, and proposes 325,000 sq ft of employment space instead.
The investor said it was “disappointed” that the retail outlet village was no longer part of the plans but that “the current circumstances could not have been foreseen when the original plans were submitted”.
Under plans approved by Chorley Council in 2018, FIREM proposed a 250,000 sq ft retail village, as well as further retail and leisure uses within the Botany Bay mill. The wider proposals also featured 300,000 sq ft of logistics space and 288 homes.
However, the retail component of those plans has now been swapped for additional employment space on 21 acres of the 91-acre site off junction 8 of the M61 near Chorley.
The logistics portion and the homes remain part of the scheme. The additional commercial space, which has not yet been detailed, will be spread across 12 blocks containing 33 units.
Meanwhile, the existing Botany Bay Mill building would be retained and provide 40,000 sq ft of the 325,000 sq ft of allotted employment space, under the updated plans.
A spokesperson for FIREM said: “We have developed alternative plans for the Botany Bay site due to the continued decline in the retail sector, which unfortunately has been further compounded by the coronavirus situation.
“Our proposal, which we feel is consistent with the site’s heritage, will create commercial and employment usage. This sector has seen continued growth and we have identified local and regional demand for high-quality space.”
The scheme has been designed by architect MCAU and the planning consultant is John Francis Planning.
FIREM hopes to submit a planning application to Chorley Council in the coming weeks.