Letter from CHCG Committee re Heritage Centre

Attached is a letter from the CHCG, going out to membership and nominated individuals and organisations in order to estimate and raise support for the idea of a town centre heritage centre. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. A text version is as follows: -

10th March 2022.
Re: The Urgent Need for A Heritage Centre in Chorley Town Centre
The Chorley Heritage Centre group has achieved much (please see Appendix). However, we have not yet realised our
major aim of establishing a heritage centre at the heart of the town. The location is vital in contributing to maximum
footfall. We ask for your support in demonstrating the demand for such a centre and helping to establish it. This would
be a central focal point for the town’s pride, in being:
a) A distribution point for a town trail; b) an information point; c) a meeting place for cultural and heritage groups;
d) A key part of a developing civic centre; e) an exhibition centre, available to local groups and individuals
It could be a suitable building or even just a room. It is vital that it is in the town centre, thus encouraging footfall to the
town’s businesses and market. Suitable sites might be: most evidently the previous Citizens’ Advice Bureau on
Fazackerley Street, but also the ground floor of an unused appropriate historic building in Market Street or environs, or
a new building on Town Green/ inside Astley Park Gates, a Market Walk Shop, a room in the Library or Primrose
Gardens.
Our Heritage Group would provide voluntary support, stewarding and experience. Other groups, active in promoting
Chorley’s history, heritage and culture, would be given the opportunity to be involved. It does not matter who owns it.
The centre needs to be created as soon as possible. The Heritage Group has lost its base at Astley Farmhouse owing to
the facility being turned over to a commercial use and the promised inclusion in the Coach House redevelopment being
shelved. In any case, Astley Hall is not central to Chorley.
Alongside many hours of planning and organisation led by Chorley Heritage Group and supported by similar groups and
St Laurence’s Church, the Council spent significant sums on the Mayflower 400 Membership, the appointment of an
officer to work with the Myles Standish project and the G7 Speakers’ Conference September 2021 (which included a
visit to the Myles Standish Exhibition in St Laurence’s church). There is a danger that any momentum from these events
will be dissipated. A visible heritage centre continuing the interest in the town’s history for residents and visitors would
be a great tool in extracting value from the initiatives above.
Few towns of Chorley’s size and stature have failed to establish a heritage centre. This omission can be rectified by your
support and thus the creation of a town centre heritage hub become a reality. We look forward to hearing from you.
Yours faithfully,
Jenny Cree and the Committee of Chorley Heritage Centre Group