Market Walk shopping centre could be expanded in a bid to attract a flagship retailer to the town.

Chorley Council chiefs say big high street names have already expressed a ‘tentative’ interest in moving to the centre, but say they want bigger units than Market Walk can currently provide.

The council, which bought the centre for £23 million in November last year, has now set aside £100,000 to look at the options for expansion, with a view to submitting a planning application later this year.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “We bought the shopping centre to give us a bigger influence over what happens in our town centre and that's exactly what we are looking to do.

“We will look at all the possible options for extending the centre, taking into account things such as unit size and car parking, and see if there is a scheme that could work for the benefit of everyone.”

The centre currently gives the council £500,000 per year profit and any increase in the size of the centre or the units could see that increased.

Coun Bradley said the council was ‘very ambitious’ with its plans for Market Walk.

He said: “I know previous owners of the centre have looked into extending the mall and I’m sure some people will be feeling it's a case of deja-vu and be thinking ‘here we go again'’.

“It’s important to stress that what we are doing is looking at what’s possible and I don’t want to make any empty promises that we will be extending Market Walk.

“What I would say is that we are very ambitious for Market Walk and we think there is a real potential to improve the offer in the town centre and do something that benefits the whole town.”