‘Bus de­pot money should be used for Hasling­den’

Rossendale Free Press - - Spinning Point -

A HASLING­DEN coun­cil­lor has at­tacked the de­ci­sion to plough money from the sale of the town’s for­mer bus de­pot into Rawten­stall’s flag­ship re­gen­er­a­tion project.

Ear­lier this year, Rossendale coun­cil sold Rosso bus to Trans­dev, for a fig­ure of £3.7 mil­lion.

The sale saw the clo­sure of Rosso’s bus de­pot in Hasling­den, pro­ceeds from which will now be used to fi­nance Spin­ning Point’s sec­ond phase.

Coun Annabel Ship­ley said the de­ci­sion shows that Rawten­stall is be­ing pri­ori­tised ahead of the Val­ley’s other towns.

She said: “My­self and (fel­low Hasling­den Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor) Granville Mor­ris are ab­so­lutely fu­ri­ous about it. That money should be used for Hasling­den and the other ar­eas as well.

“Why does Rawten­stall have to keep hav­ing it?

The for­mer Con­ser­va­tive group leader also ques­tioned the wis­dom of bor­row­ing to in­vest in a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment, es­pe­cially fol­low­ing the Empty Homes de­ba­cle which the coun­cil has ad­mit­ted could cost the tax­payer £5 mil­lion.

She said: “Re­tail shops are re­ally strug­gling. To be bor­row­ing money to put up front when we’ve got no guar­an­tee that premises are go­ing to be filled, it needs a com­plete re­think and I think it’s too big a risk.”

She also raised con­cerns about whether a spa would at­tract suf­fi­cient foot­fall to the Val­ley, given com­pe­ti­tion from nearby out­lets in Burn­ley and Clay­ton-le- Moors. She added: “If there’s not ad­e­quate park­ing that’s go­ing to put peo­ple off.

“I think it’s mad­ness and I can­not agree with it.”

Coun­cil leader Alyson Barnes said she ap­pre­ci­ated there was a per­cep­tion they have not in­vested into Hasling­den – es­pe­cially given plans to open a spa in Rawten­stall when Hasling­den has lost its swim­ming pool.

But she said Ros­sobus was a com­pany that served the whole of Rossendale.

She said: “The dif­fi­culty we have is were are try­ing to re­gen­er­ate three town cen­tres, whereas your av­er­age coun­cil only has to re­gen­er­ate one.

“I’m very con­scious that we have not put any re­ally big money into Hasling­den so I hope that will be next.

“The gov­ern­ment’s clear mes­sage is grow your lo­cal economies, we’re pulling out and it’s up to you.

“If we want to carry on pro­vid­ing ser­vices for Rossendale res­i­dents we have got to do this. All of this is borne from that.”

Coun Annabel Ship­ley

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