£2m plans un­veiled to dou­ble mu­seum size

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - stu­[email protected]­media.co.uk @stu­art­pike78 STU­ART PIKE

NEW vi­su­als have been re­leased as part of a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to ex­pand an award-win­ning cul­tural venue.

If ap­proved, the £2m scheme at the Whi­taker in Rawten­stall will dou­ble the size of the mu­seum, gallery, events and res­tau­rant space, con­vert­ing the cur­rent un­der­used sta­bles and barn area.

Rossendale coun­cil has been work­ing closely with the Whi­taker com­mu­nity in­ter­est com­pany on the scheme since the com­pany was suc­cess­ful in se­cur­ing an ini­tial £100,000 from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund, which the coun­cil match­funded, for a first stage de­vel­op­ment grant.

Should the ap­pli­ca­tion be ap­proved by plan­ners, it will al­low the Whi­taker to put for­ward their fi­nal ap­pli­ca­tion to Her­itage Lot­tery Fund to un­lock a fur­ther £1.9m sec­ond stage grant.

Coun­cil leader Alyson Barnes said: “The Whi­taker is an im­por­tant cul­tural as­set for Rossendale and con­tin­ues to bring in peo­ple from far and wide. These new pro­pos­als build on the achieve­ments of the mu­seum and are very ex­cit­ing for the whole of Rossendale.

“We are work­ing hard be­hind the scenes to grow our leisure and tourism in­dus­try and as­sets such as the Whi­taker are key to that.”

The scheme pro­pos­als also in­clude a se­ries of com­mu­nity en­gage­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, events and work­shop space.

Carl Bell, Whi­taker man­ag­ing direc­tor, said: “We have been build­ing to­wards this vi­sion since April 2013, hope­fully en­cour­ag­ing a num­ber of peo­ple and busi­nesses along the way and see­ing a tan­gi­ble and pos­i­tive change across the area. If suc­cess­ful we want this de­vel­op­ment to be a real tal­is­man for the re­nais­sance of Rossendale.

“Not only in­creas­ing vis­i­tors to this beau­ti­ful place but sup­port­ing and help­ing de­velop the whole art, her­itage and cul­tural of­fer across the Val­ley.”

Stephen An­der­son, chair­man of Val­ley Her­itage and project man­ager, said: “The Whi­taker is an im­por­tant her­itage and cul­tural re­source for Rossendale and for the wider Pen­nine Lan­cashire, which has been do­ing a bril­liant job of en­gag­ing the com­mu­nity.

“The op­por­tu­nity for The Whi­taker to ex­pand its of­fer is fan­tas­tic for the area; it will cre­ate jobs, put a spot­light on Rossendale, and boost tourism. It is great to see the ideas take shape and we look for­ward to sup­port­ing the project as it moves for­wards.”

‘It will cre­ate jobs... and boost tourism’

●● An artist’s im­pres­sion of the of a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the Whi­taker’s ex­pan­sion

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