Proposals for the reopening of Astley Hall are well underway
Astley Hall, which has been closed since January 2020 to allow £1.1 million renovation work, is set to reopen to the public in the spring with the introduction of an admission fee.
The proposed admission fee, and longer opening hours, will help to support the long-term sustainability of one of the Borough's most historic and landmark attractions.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council: "It's important that Astley Hall becomes more sustainable, so the income generated from the admission fees will offset some of the costs of running the Hall, maintenance work that is required in the future and help us continue with the high level offer of exhibitions, events and other activities at the Hall. At the moment everyone in Chorley pays for the upkeep of the hall via Council Tax payments, and we think that those who actually visit Astley Hall many of whom are from outside Chorley should make a reasonable direct contribution as they would for other attractions across the UK.
"Introduction of an admission fee will also help us manage visitor numbers and the impact that heavy visitor footfall has on a building like this, helping to preserve the hall for future generations.
"Astley Hall was gifted to the people of Chorley, so it's about striking a balance to ensure the Hall is both accessible for residents and much more sustainable. With this in mind, we'll be offering a reduced admission fee to Chorley residents and also longer opening hours to provide more opportunities for people to visit.
"The work to Astley Hall and park in recent years has made it a real visitor attraction for both residents and those from further afield. With the renovated Hall, Coach House Gallery, Museum Gift Shop, café and local retailer in the court yard, plus everything the park offers, such as fantastic play areas, woodland walks, sports pitches, it really provides a value day out."
Admission fees discussed at the recent full Council meeting included:
£5 for an adult annual pass or £2.50 for a one-off adult visit for Chorley residents.
£15 for an adult annual pass or £5 for a one-off adult visit for non-Chorley residents.
Discounted family passes, children's tickets and concessions will also be available, with further details to be confirmed in due course.
The Grade I listed building has undergone refurbishment over the last couple of years, thanks to a Chorley Council investment of £1.1m, including removal of the external render to reveal original brick work, new and refurbished windows to the front of the Hall, strengthening the main stair case, accessibility ramp and interior redecoration.
The improvements to the Hall also provide an opportunity to refresh the offering for weddings and other bookings.
The last bit of work at the Hall is to make final repairs inside the building before putting in the new interpretation for the rooms and reinstating all the furniture and collections that will go on display. Drip sills will be added to the front elevations of the Hall to prevent staining of the newly exposed brickwork, and the repairs to the cottage roof at the rear of the building will continue later into the year.
The visitor journey around the Hall is also being remapped to both elevate the experience and give areas of the Hall a break from heavy footfall. The Hall's reopening is expected to be in the spring, with a date to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
For further updates, please follow the Astley Hall and Park Facebook Page