Work to extend a Lancashire shopping centre is underway with a High Street name and cinema operator already signed up to the £12 million development.
Shopping centre owners Chorley Council has been working on plans to extend Market Walk for a number of years with the diggers rolling in to start the work.
The eight-unit development will see an M&S Foodhall, six-screen Reel Cinema, restaurants and other new businesses come to the growing market town.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “It was great to see work starting on site this week and good progress has already been made with the first step to clear the site and then piling to put the foundations in place.
“Now we’ve got lots of extra parking in place with more becoming available in the coming weeks we will be able to keep disruption to a minimum and the town centre remains open for business.
“To get M&S to open a new store here while they are closing in other places is a real coup and it shows the confidence that some of the biggest names have in what we are doing and it will undoubtedly bring new people into the town centre.
“Interest will start to firm up in the other units and we will keep people updated as things progress.”
The council has worked closely with construction firm Eric Wright group on preparing the town centre for the changes with a new decked car park, the demolition of buildings to create a new single level car park and major public realm improvements to match the new developments with the rest of the town centre.
John Wilson of Eric Wright Construction, said: “As a local contractor we are extremely proud to be delivering this scheme with Chorley Council and look forward to getting the main build underway. It offers a modern two-storey extension to the existing shopping centre which will become a major feature within the town.
“The scheme complements a lot of other work taking place to improve the appearance of Chorley town centre, such as the Primrose Gardens retirement village we are also constructing on Fleet Street.
“Chorley Council is working hard to provide a long term future for the town and we are pleased to be a part of it.”
The existing 35-unit Market Walk shopping centre has been fully occupied for much of the time since the council bought it in 2013 and sits in the heart of the town centre adjacent to the markets and bus and rail interchange.
More information on the work can be found by searching ‘town centre improvements’ at chorley.gov.uk.