Leader’s col­umn

Rossendale Free Press - - Your Views - Coun Alyson Barnes

I WAS dis­ap­pointed to read the Scrib­bler’s re­cent com­ments about Rossendale’s town cen­tres.

Back in 2011 we in­her­ited a boarded up val­ley cen­tre site, an empty town hall and a tem­po­rary bus sta­tion – put in place 40 years ago.

Rawten­stall was a mess, and our other town cen­tres weren’t much bet­ter. All ar­eas had been starved of in­vest­ment for a long time.

We have been at­tempt­ing to ad­dress that long-stand­ing ne­glect ever since.

In do­ing this we are bring­ing bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties into the bor­ough, like the bus sta­tion.

Why should neigh­bour­ing bor­oughs and their res­i­dents ben­e­fit from this type of in­vest­ment and Rossendale not?

This work should also help with the longert­erm sus­tain­abil­ity of the town cen­tres.

Want­ing to im­prove fa­cil­i­ties for our res­i­dents and im­prove the sus­tain­abil­ity of the town cen­tres do not seem like un­rea­son­able prin­ci­ples to work to.

As for ob­jec­tors – won’t there al­ways be some ob­jec­tors, no mat­ter what we do?

The real key to un­der­stand­ing peo­ple’s con­cerns is to lis­ten all the time and con­tin­u­ally weigh what is be­ing said against what you are try­ing to do, and if things aren’t right to change them.

Plans have been changed nu­mer­ous times to the Bacup and Rawten­stall schemes to re­flect opin­ion.

l It is good to re­port back that we have been able to in­flu­ence the num­ber of new homes that we will need to build as part of the new Lo­cal plan process.

Fig­ures have gone from 5,000 new homes over the next 15 years to just over 3,000 – this is more achiev­able but still, in my view high given the very real chal­lenges we face as a bor­ough.

We need now to fo­cus on our trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture needs, with­out sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments the val­ley will con­tinue to feel con­gested and over pop­u­lated.

The high­way ca­pac­ity study that was car­ried out to help sup­port the lo­cal plan should help in­form fu­ture in­vest­ment.

We now need to en­sure that fund­ing comes for­ward to make those im­prove­ments.

l I was de­lighted to see our plan­ning team once again in con­tention for a na­tional award last week.

Although not win­ners this time round the team were in the top five coun­try­wide. Well done to all those in­volved.

l It is great to ex­pe­ri­ence so much good weather, there is nowhere finer than Rossendale when the sun is shin­ing. Last week­end saw the new Scoot­fest up at Marl Pits.

Well done to the or­gan­is­ers, this looks like it has great po­ten­tial for the fu­ture. There are many lo­cal events and ac­tiv­i­ties in Rossendale over the next few weeks, please go along and sup­port the dif­fer­ent groups who work hard to put these things on.

Your sup­port will be very much ap­pre­ci­ated.

If you have any con­cerns and you would like to speak to me you can con­tact me on alyson­barnes@ rossendalebc.gov.uk or ring me on 01706 217819 or 07817 414248.

I will be happy to hear from you.

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