A SPORTS business has defected from Bolton to Chorley amid claims it was not offered enough support from Bolton Council.

Fitness industry supplier ServiceSport UK had been based in Bolton since it was founded in 1998 with its most recent base in Chorley New Road, Horwich, but it has now moved into bigger premises in the Chorley North Industrial park.

Council bosses insist the firm never asked for help and, had bosses done so, they would have been offered assistance.

ServiceSport UK is one of the first outfits to move to Chorley since the Choose Chorley for Business campaign was controversially started with the lighting of Rivington Pike, which borders Horwich and Chorley.

The publicity stunt, which saw the pike lit up in the red of Lancashire in a bid to encourage more businesses to set up in Chorley, angered some Bolton residents.

ServiceSport bosses said the firm’s success had led them to search for a larger home and their initial plan was to remain in Bolton, where the majority of staff are from.

The company said the help and support offered by Chorley Council, which included a £25,000 grant, led them to choose Chorley as their new home.

There was also a parting shot aimed at Bolton Council, after bosses said they had never received support for their business during their time in Bolton.

Financial director of ServiceSport UK Mark Grundy said: “We needed to expand and wanted to stay in Bolton. That is where all three directors are from.

“We didn’t approach Bolton Council on this occasion for help because we have contacted them several times in the past and never got anywhere, so when Chorley Council proactively came to help us, that made our decision.”

“Chorley Council have been fantastic and really supported us with this move.”

In a response, Keith Davies, Bolton Council’s director of development and regeneration, said he was pleased the firm would be retaining all their Bolton-based staff.

He added: “Obviously as the company expands its workforce in the future those jobs will also be available to our residents because of its proximity to Bolton.

“We were not approached by the company but would have been happy to assist them in relocating elsewhere in Bolton and we have a good track record of being able to support firms in this way.

“However, they have a solution which suits them and retains employment for Bolton residents and that is good news for this area.”

When the pike was lit up red, the Mayor of Horwich said residents were “absolutely outraged”.