CHORLEY Council has approved plans to buy the former Hyatt Restaurant for £115,000 to lease to Chorley Little Theatre.

The council plans to buy the property so that the theatre can expand the space it uses for productions, rehearsals, community groups and meetings.

The authority is doing this as part of its plans to improve the appeal of Chorley town centre so that it attracts more visitors throughout the week and on weekends.

Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council said: “Chorley Little Theatre is a great asset to Chorley and we can’t wait to see what the additional space will bring to the people of Chorley.

“We have a strong connection with Chorley Little Theatre and we know that the public love getting involved with and attending their productions so we want to help in any way we can to make sure their resources are the best they can be.

“The intention is that the former Hyatt restaurant will be transformed into a space to be used for theatre productions, community groups and to assist events.”

Chorley Little Theatre approached Chorley Council for help with the purchase of the Hyatt Restaurant and the council have stepped in with plans to purchase the property to lease to the theatre.

The lease paid by the theatre will cover the council costs in purchasing the building.

The extra space hopes to benefit Chorley Little Theatre and the people of Chorley by offering additional room for more volunteers thus helping it to thrive as a landmark in Chorley for years to come.

Ian Robinson, Chairman of CADOS, who owns and operates Chorley Little Theatre said: “We are very grateful for the support that Chorley Council is giving us and we can’t wait to expand the resources that we have on offer.

“Our current building has stood here for 108 years and we’ve filled every nook and cranny, so a bit more room to work in will be fantastic.

“We plan to use the new space to expand what we’re currently doing and give more opportunities to learn stage craft and appear before an audience. Our Youth Theatre, run by people aged 11-19, will be able to get more performance experience and we can also stage different sorts of productions, such as ‘in the round’.

“We can also use the space for comedy, music, meetings and intimate special events.

“At the moment there can be three shows in production at the same time, so the hope is the additional space will enable more events to take place without affecting the overall high standards of production we pride ourselves on”

“As well as performance, we plan to use it as storage space to make things more accessible for our volunteers, who range in age from 11 to 85 and can’t always get into the deepest recesses of Chorley Little Theatre.

“It will allow us to expand the services we offer and we’re keen to hear from groups and volunteers who’d like to use the building so that it benefits the whole community. Already we’re talking to book groups and local societies about making use of the space.

“While this will be great for our current volunteers we hope that new people will come along and get involved with our shows. In particular we need set-builders and house staff but all are welcome.

“We’re excited about what we can do with the new room, and look forward to seeing how it develops, not just for us, but for the next generation of theatre users in Chorley.”

By having this extra space Chorley Little Theatre will also be able to get involved with Chorley Live as at present their main stage is usually required at the same time for other plays and rehearsals.

The building could also become a box office in the future which would help to assist in the Chorley Flower show and other events in the town.

The former Hyatt premises will also help with disabled access and elderly volunteers and Chorley Council plan to purchase the property for £115,000.