MARKET stalls were relocated to streets for the first time as preparation work began to extend a shopping centre.

Shoppers and businesses got a glimpse of some of the changes to Chorley town centre as stalls moved from the Flat Iron market to accommodate the extension to Market Walk shopping centre.

Over the next few months, Chorley Council will begin a trial of relocating some stalls from the market to Chapel Street on the second Saturday of the month to coincide with the Food and Craft Market. The trials will began on Saturday and will continue on April 8, and May 13.

The bigger changes to the Flat Iron markets will come after Easter when the entire Tuesday market will move to the opposite end of the car park on Tuesday, April 18 before gradually relocating along Chapel Street, Cleveland Street and Fazakerley Street from June onwards.

The work to reconfigure the car park is being done in phases to minimise the disruption and ensure some parking spaces are still available.

However, drivers will be encouraged to use nearby car parks, such as Hollinshead Street, where possible while the work is ongoing.

The reconfiguration of the Flat Iron will start on the West side of the car park, near Booths, on April 18, however, some trees will be taken down in March as part of the preparation work.

Cllr Alistair Bradley, council leader, said: “These changes are vitally important to the redevelopment of the town centre but we’re introducing them in phases to cause as little disruption as possible.

“As the markets have always been an important part of Chorley’s identity, we want to make sure our plans to place the stalls along the streets work for both traders and shoppers before all of the stalls are temporarily relocated in June.

“The Market Walk extension is a massive project for the town centre so there will be some extensive preparation work to do before we officially start to build and that includes removing some of the existing trees that surround the Flat Iron.

“All of these trees will be replaced as part of the new development with plans to plant even more.”

“When the redevelopment of the town centre is complete, people will see a retail and leisure offer that builds upon the fantastic independent traders that we already have in town.

“The council is investing £17 million in the town centre with the aim of supporting and developing the local economy through revitalising the town centre.”