Outdoor watersports center expands on historic 19th-century site

An outdoor aquatic residential center in Chorley built on the grounds of a historic 19th century hall is set to be expanded as demand grows.

The Anderton Centers operate as a residential and day visitation activity centre, focusing on working with youth and community groups. The building itself can be used for conferences and indoor events, but the center is widely known for its water activities on a local reservoir.

The Lower Rivington Reservoir is the largest body of water between the Midlands and the Lake District and has been dubbed Lancashire’s mini Lake District. In the 19th century, the land bordering the reservoir belonged to the occupants of Anderton Hall.

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Anderton Hall was surrounded by 237 acres of land and was owned by the ‘Anderton’ family with much of its history dating back to the 1800s. In 1930 the stately home was demolished and the site and surrounding land became an important area catchment originally owned by North West Water, now United Utilities (UU).

The Rivington chain of reservoirs (Anglezarke, Upper and Lower Rivington reservoirs) were built between 1850 and 1857 to supply water to Liverpool. When built, the filtration plant at the south end of Lower Rivington Reservoir was the largest in the world.

In the 1970s plans to develop an activity center on the vacant site were put forward by North West Water who commissioned a partnership between the Sports Council and the Greater Manchester Youth Association. However, plans were halted after Greater Manchester Council disbanded in 1986.

Lower Rivington Reservoir where water activities take place

United Utilities reopened the center in July 1998, but it was used only as a conference center until 1999, when it was officially opened as an outdoor activity center by the president of United Utilities, Sir Christopher Harding. This center is the same one that currently stands as the Anderton Center which, decades after its origin, is seeking expansion.

Applicants state in their proposals that due to the continued success of the centre, there is now a need to expand and improve the existing changing rooms, provide additional bedrooms (for residential classes/activities) and upgrade halls conference/meeting.

The site is located on the outskirts of Bolton, but is covered by the Chorley MBC Planning Authority. It spans four acres of woodland and has exclusive use of the Lower Rivington Reservoir.

In addition to providing outdoor activity facilities and conference rooms, the center has 70 beds with dining and self-catering options, as well as parking for up to 50 cars. Now a proposal for an extension has been made to provide much needed wet changing rooms and additional sleeping quarters.

Expansion plans include a new entrance and a ground floor entrance hall with an additional fire escape stairwell as well as additional wet changing rooms. On the first floor, an additional emergency evacuation stairwell will lead to three further dormitory bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and an additional meeting room.

The layout of the site and existing buildings will not change significantly as a result of the proposals to which this statement relates. The proposed two storey extension to the rear of the property will closely follow the design of the buildings and match all existing materials.

Plans indicate that the two-story extension will partially replace an external wire-cage equipment store and introduce an additional internal fire escape stairwell. The walls will have a face masonry finish incorporating a row of brick strips, like the existing building.

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