A MILLIONAIRE taxi boss is ploughing part of his fortune into a Priory-style addiction treatment centre.
Nick Astley, owner of Bolton-based Metro Taxis — the largest private hire firm in Greater Manchester — is set to open Salus Withnell Hall in a £3.5 million mansion on the outskirts of Chorley.
The 47-year-old former pupil of Turton High School, who has built his taxi and property empire over more than 20 years, has owned the mansion since 2000.
Mr Astley was renting it to Inward House Projects, a drugs and rehabilitation centre, but it closed recently.
He thought about turning the property into a luxury home, but has now vowed to “give something back” by financing a facility for 41 clients who will be cared for by a team of up to 20 professionals, including social workers, doctors, psychotherapists, addiction specialists, counsellors and an admissions team.
Mr Astley said his aspiration was to offer the sort of quality rehabilitation which is available at Priory Centres, but to make it available to ordinary people.
He is being helped by partner and long-time addiction specialist Keith Robertson, who runs a similar facility in Lancaster called Littledale Hall and lectures on the subject in universities.
The pair are hoping to receive their first clients this month.
“Although it will be run as a business, all the money will be ploughed back into the facility,” said Mr Astley. “I am happy to make my money elsewhere.
“I have 500 taxis and run the biggest operation in Greater Manchester and I have properties also.
“With Keith on board, we have the knowledge to run a place. We want to do everything right.”
Mr Astley said it had taken three months to refurbish the mansion — with many people offering their services on voluntary basis — and it has just passed its inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
Mr Astley added: “You reach a point in your life when you feel like you want to give something back to the wider community.”
“I would like to think that if my children needed help there would be somewhere like this where they could come.
“I believe if we do something for the right reasons it will be successful.”