Search for inspiration elsewhere
WHERE should Rawtenstall look for inspiration on what it wants to be?
Recently, Rossendale MP Jake Berry suggested Warrington as a place to inspire the council into making what are considered to be ‘better’ planning decisions.
It’s an interesting example, but I suspect Warrington has more ‘inwards investment’ projects to choose from than Rossendale does. To start, it has the benefit of not one but three motorways in its area - the M6 and M62 interchange in Warrington, and the M56 is also close by - and fast train services which run north to south and east to west.
Others point to places like Hebden Bridge, Clitheroe or Ramsbottom.
I’d chuck Blackburn into the mix too.
It’s put the market more to the heart of the town centre, and invested in the market too. It put a lot of focus on what local planners call ‘public realm’ and that’s made it a nicer place to spend time in.
Rawtenstall has a historic advantage here – Bank Street in particular is already very nice, and relatively small projects such as cobbling the whole of the street would make a huge difference.
But what about Longridge, the small town on the edge of the Ribble Valley, near Preston? Not an obvious place to seek inspiration but its cinema has just re-opened. The new owners have turned it into a place which is more than just a cinema, so you can pop in for a drink or food throughout the day, in the same way cinemas in the Lake District do.
The range of films shown at the Palace cinema in Longridge makes it stand out from regular multiplexes a short drive away. If they are confident of making it work in Longridge, surely it’s an idea to explore in Rawtenstall, a bigger town with large communities around it too? That would be exciting.