WORK is set to start on the new cinema and shopping experience in Chorley town centre next week.

Shopping centre owners Chorley Council has been working on plans to attract more people to the town centre and will start on the £12m facility on Monday.

The authority has been re-shaping the town’s car parking by creating dozens of new spaces over the last year and the diggers are set to move in to build the eight-unit extension, which is adjacent to the by-pass off Union Street.

Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “We are really excited now we are ready to start the main construction and this development will be a key factor in giving our town centre a long term future. While many other town centres are struggling we are one of a few that is continuing to do well because of our mix of independent traders and the popular markets, which gives us a unique offer.

“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.”

The M&S Foodhall will be joined by a six-screen Reel Cinema and Loungers restaurant with negotiations continuing with a number of other high profile businesses over the remaining units.

“We appreciate there will be some disruption in the coming months but we’ve done our bit to create plenty of new parking spaces with lots of free options and it’s important everyone does their bit and continues to visit the town centre.

"We are seeing more interest in the new units we have yet to fill and that will continue to grow once we have a spade in the ground and businesses can see this is a scheme that is going to happen and will be open in time for Christmas next year.”