WORK is due to start today on a £9m scheme to provide apartments for older people in Chorley town centre.

The flagship scheme for independent living accommodation for over 55s is being built on the former long-stay car park in Fleet Street.

Contractors are due to move on site today to do preparation work prior to the demolition of the old Ambulance Hall and the former Primrose Cottage, which has inspired the name of the new development.

Councillor Graham Dunn, who oversees housing for Chorley Council, said: “I’m delighted that work is now starting on this major scheme which will be called Primrose Gardens and will provide purpose-built accommodation to support our older residents when they need it most.

“It is an innovative 65-bed scheme which will offer care and support to residents available 24/7 if needed, provide a community hub and also a sprung dance floor which will ensure two local dance schools can remain in the town centre.”

The complex will provide 47 one-bedroom and 18 two bedroom generously sized apartments at an affordable rent which would be available for people aged 55 and over with a local connection to Chorley and which could offer care and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week should it be needed.

There will also be community facilities including landscaped gardens, a café, laundrette, community room, hair salon and a dance hall where two local dance schools, Dance with Passion and Anita Murray School of Dancing will also be based.

Jason Parkinson from Dance with Passion said: “We are delighted there will be a sprung floor in the new complex so that we will be able to continue with our classes in Chorley.

“In the meantime, we are running our classes in The Lancastrian at Chorley Town Hall during the construction of Primrose Gardens.

Anita Murray who has run her dance school in Chorley since 1969 said: “It promises to be very exciting once the new development is complete with mirrors, barres and suitable dance flooring, couldn’t ask for anything more really.

“In the meantime our team of experienced, friendly staff are offering the classes that were in the Ambulance Hall at Astley Village Community Centre instead.”

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader added: “We appreciate that car parking is going to be one of the biggest issues while this and other works are going on in the town centre, but we are actively working on creating new spaces. Indeed, so far we have created a new car park on Cleveland Street and opened up a car park on Hollinshead Street to the public which has plenty of spaces available for parking.

“But what is important is that the scheme will not only provide much-needed affordable accommodation for older people in the town who may need extra care and support later in life, it will also bring residential areas back into the town centre which is part of our town centre masterplan. And it will also generate much-needed income for the council which is vital with the cuts in central government funding, that can be spent on providing services to our residents.”