£19m. Chipping leisure plan could create 100 jobs

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A public consultation is being launched around plans for a new £19m leisure-led scheme in the Trough of Bowland.

The multi-million pound investment would transform the former HJ Berry factory in Chipping which has lain empty since the furniture manufacturer went into administration in 2010.

The scheme will create more than 100 jobs and includes a quality hotel with associated cottages and apartments, gym, pool and leisure facilities and family housing. A new trail head centre will provide facilities for outdoor pursuits. Significant car parking provision will help alleviate issues for the rest of the village.

The scheme is being promoted by Stephen Chicken, of investors 53N.

He said: “The scheme has been drawn up following extensive consultation with local community stakeholders and meets many of the objectives of the Chipping Local Plan including the provision of housing, jobs and car parking.

“We are now seeking feedback from the wider community and would encourage people to come along to our drop-in sessions.”

Ribble Valley Borough Council’s ward councillor for Chipping Coun. Simon Hore said he was very interested to hear about the plans about the HJ Berry chair works site at Kirk Mill from developers 53N.

“It is over two years since they acquired the site,” Coun. Hore explained.

At that time they put forward some ideas on the development of a hotel and leisure complex, but they were unclear as to their plans for housing.

“The scheme is ambitious providing the potential for good employment, the refurbishment of the grade II listed mill building, one of the few remaining Arkwright mills in the country; but along with a considerable number of additional homes.

“There is no doubt that the site needs revitalising; the issue will be the number of extra houses in a small village, and the proposed location for those homes.

“As yet no formal planning application has been submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council, but I assume that will go in front of the planners over the next few months.”

Drop-in sessions will be held in the old barn building on the site at Malt Kiln Brow in Chipping today (Thursday) from 3-30 p.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Following the events the plans will also be available to view on the dedicated website at www.kirkmill.co.uk where feedback can also be logged.