WORK to make Chorley town centre a great place to shop and spend leisure time is paying off as the town was recognised in the Great British High Street Awards.

It comes as work is underway on the £12million Market Walk extension, the markets are booming and the Chorley Live event has won a prestigious Lancashire Tourism Award.

On receiving a ‘special mention’, judges said that Chorley town centre showed a real commitment to the local community and was a brilliant example of how high streets can flourish and thrive.

Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “As people can see we are doing lots of work to keep improving Chorley town centre and it’s vital we do this to give the place a long term future.

“Despite the pressures on high streets up and down the country we are doing well when you compare us to neighbouring towns and cities and a big part of that is the independent traders, which offer something different, and the willingness of everyone to work together.

“The fact that M&S has decided to open a Foodhall here shows that businesses see Chorley as a great place to invest and the feedback we are receiving from traders is that the markets are booming so things are looking really positive.

“We’ll continue to do what we can to make Chorley town centre a great place to spend time and we hope people will support their local traders by making a conscious decision to shop local.”

The national recognition comes as the Totally Locally Chorley group goes from strength to strength, the markets continue to be successful with the Bob Inn featured in the CAMRA Good Beer guide and Bees Country Kitchen shortlisted for national food awards and free town centre wifi about to be launched.

Dozens of new parking spaces have just been opened with the 300+ space Friday Street car park now open offering three hours free parking.

The work to improve the town centre is supported by the town’s MP who champions the unique offer in Chorley.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP for Chorley, said: “It’s great to see Chorley’s high street being recognised in these national awards. We’ve got a fantastic town centre with a mix of independent traders, High Street names and a thriving market that is the envy of others.

“It’s important we all support our local businesses so with plenty of family entertainment planned in the run up to Christmas make sure you come and do your festive shopping here.” The GB High Street awards are run by the Government, Visa and other partners.