Rossendale Free Press

£11.7m High St bid is rejected

But leader says town still has a bright future

- STUART PIKE stuart.pike@menmedia.co.uk @stuartpike­78

Ambitious plans to redevelop bacup town centre failed to secure Future High streets funding. Rossendale borough Council was bidding for an £11.7m regenerati­on grant but bacup’s 2040 Vision was not accepted.

However, the deputy council leader Coun Jackie oakes said that, despite the setback, the process would still prove to be to the town’s advantage for the future.

MP Jake berry said he was “disappoint­ed”, but it was ‘not the end of the road’ for the plans.

RESIDENTS have been assured that work has not been in vain after ambitious plans for Bacup failed to secure Future High Streets funding.

More than 70 high streets across England are to share up to £830 million to support areas in their recovery from the pandemic.

Rossendale Borough Council was bidding for an £11.7m regenerati­on grant for the town centre, but unfortunat­ely its Bacup’s 2040 Vision was not successful. However, deputy council leader Coun Jackie Oakes said despite the setback, the process would prove “invaluable” for future.

“We carried out the largest consultati­on exercise Rossendale has ever had and we had more than 30 representa­tives on the Bacup 2040 Vision Board,” said Coun Oakes.

“No-one should feel they were excluded from the plans we put forward in the final document and I am sure, when other opportunit­ies to bid for funding for the town come along, this evidence will prove invaluable to drive forward the plans that the residents want to see happen.

“Bacup was transforme­d thanks to the Townscape Heritage Initiative fund and soon we will see progress made to bring back into use historic buildings thanks to the £1.08 million High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) funding, approved earlier this year.”

The HSHAZ funding will transform up to 22 buildings in the town centre, restoring the historic high street and reconnecti­ng people with their local heritage.

One of the major changes put forward in the grant submission for Future High Streets Fund was the removal of the imposing former Barclays Bank building on Market Street and opening up of the market area into a new square that could be used day and night. It was proposed to build a new market hall parallel to St James Street, looking out onto the new market square with removable outdoor stalls.

As well as a food hall and indoor stalls, the top floor would have provided accommodat­ion. A second building was proposed for the car park behind Union Street shops and over some of the market cabins; this would have housed a budget hotel, retail units and cycling facilities.

Rossendale MP Jake Berry said: “I’m obviously disappoint­ed that this particular bid hasn’t been successful, but we need to be clear that this isn’t the end of the road for these exciting plans to transform Bacup.

“The £1.08 million High Street Heritage Action Zone bid was successful and I’ll continue to work with the council to explore other ways that we can deliver this transforma­tional change for our town.”

Bacup councillor Andrew Walmsley, cabinet member for resources, said: “The THI has been a springboar­d for the town attracting new businesses to St James Street and led to further opportunit­ies for other parts of the town. The work that was carried out to put this submission together will be used when we identify other funding opportunit­ies.”

 ??  ?? • Deputy Leader of RBC Councillor Jackie Oakes, Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Barbara Ashworth and Resources portfolio holder Councillor Andrew Walmsley on St James Street, which was refurbishe­d under the THI funding secured by Rossendale Borough Council.
• Deputy Leader of RBC Councillor Jackie Oakes, Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Barbara Ashworth and Resources portfolio holder Councillor Andrew Walmsley on St James Street, which was refurbishe­d under the THI funding secured by Rossendale Borough Council.

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