Iconic Lancashire building to be transformed after £3m plans approved

Botany Bay plans

Plans for the £3m transformation of a Lancashire landmark have been approved by Chorley Borough Council.

FI Real Estate Management (FIREM) applied to build a podium at its Canal Mill headquarters in Botany Bay, Chorley, to provide an extra 85,800 sq ft of space across four floors to accommodate parking and leisure activities, including more than 190 parking spaces for cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

There will also be a helipad and hangar, as well as an 11,200 sq ft multi-use space to be used for exercise, wellbeing activities, team bonding and sports for FIREM employees.

The historic Canal Mill at Botany Bay dates to 1855 and FI Real Estate Management is working with a team of architects and planning experts to preserve the heritage of the site.

In July 2022, the council’s planning committee approved separate plans to build a £26m industrial and commercial park on a 21-acre site at Botany Bay.

Building work has already started on phase one of the scheme, which will deliver 33 units for light industrial and commercial use across 405,000 sq ft and a drive-thru food outlet. Phase two will occupy a further 16 acres located across the canal, featuring a 91-unit scheme totalling 322,560 sq ft of mixed-use space ranging from 500 to 24,000 sq ft.

Starting from 1,313 sq ft, each of the site’s 33 combinable and customisable units is being built to high specifications, with a targeted EPC rating ‘A’, bespoke fit out and plug and play options available.

Tim Knowles, founder and managing director of FI Real Estate Management, said: “The mill at Botany Bay is an iconic building and this latest planning announcement is an important next step towards our vision for Botany Bay Business Park.

“This multimillion-pound investment is creating an exciting new chapter for Botany Bay, and I’m excited that it will bring new opportunities for businesses, and more importantly jobs, to the Chorley area.

“We’ve carefully considered the podium’s design and have been vigilant to reflect the heritage of the retained mill building and the materials used and facade itself pay homage to its history.

“This podium forms an integral part of the overall redevelopment of the site and the creation of Botany Bay Business Park. These plans reflect a huge investment on our part and will result in a substantial boost to the local economy both during the construction period and beyond.”

The approved plans include a focus on Botany Bay Business Park’s local supply chain, and the podium development will be delivered by FI Construction, FIREM’s construction division, to create opportunities for local employment and training, bringing an estimated 15-20 new jobs to the Chorley area, with the wider project creating more than 100 jobs.

FIREM has previously committed to delivering a wider programme of local economic and social benefits as part of the new Botany Bay Business Park scheme, to ensure the development has a positive impact on the area and creates a lasting legacy in Chorley.

This includes recruiting new staff from within 10 miles of the development, including a project director, site managers, surveyors, and engineers.

Construction on the podium phase of Botany Bay Business Park is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

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