Rossendale Free Press
Arcade revival, cabbie’s heartbreak and protests
IN the second part of our Review of 2020, we look back at some of the people and stories making the headlines between July and December of an extraordinary year.
More than 2,000 people voted as Rossendale’s Got Talent Online crowned its inaugural winner.
Talented singer Isabella Jones, 16, took the first prize by wowing the public with her rendition of ‘I Didn’t Plan It’ from the musical Waitress.
She was joined on the prize board by runner-up Saskia Starkey, also 16, and in third place Amy Singleton, 28.
Rossendale political leaders said that the future is looking bright for the long-lost Waterfoot Arcade thanks to the Victorian gem’s new owner.
Valley MP Jake Berry unveiled some of the Grade II-listed building’s secrets with a tantalising series of photos on his Facebook page this week, after he was invited on a recent visit.
Council leader Alyson Barnes also spoke with the owner’s agent at a tour of the Bacup Road building.
A popular taxi driver who went the extra mile with his personal touch for customers was forced to call it a day.
Colin Durkin, 74, has been ferrying fares all over Rossendale for 30 years, but was deemed unable to continue after a council vision test deemed him unable to renew his taxi licence.
Valley born and bred Colin, of Co-Operation Street, Bacup, said he was “heartbroken”.
Hundreds of residents signed a petition calling for action against “dangerous” speeding in parts of Haslingden and Helmshore.
The petition statement, by Samara Barnes, addressed to Lancashire County Council (LCC), had gained more than 770 signatures.
It read: “We, the residents of Haslingden and Helmshore, are concerned about the significantly high number of cars speeding on Manchester Road, Helmshore Road, Haslingden Old Road, Broadway and Holcombe Road on a daily basis.”
Two Valley drama students helped to put pupils’ minds at rest ahead of the return to classrooms.
Haslingden High Year 10 students Ella Fielding and Alfie Fletcher, had been winning some rave reviews since Lancashire County Council (LCC) released the ‘Back to school’ film.
A grassroots project to help people put meals on the table during the pandemic was making a real difference to food poverty.
The Rossendale Food Box scheme started with a couple of local residents putting boxes of food outside their homes for others to use.
Now the project has 12 boxes of food and other essentials, out seven days a week, across the Valley.
The landlord of CAMRA’s Rossendale pub of the year, Casked Ale House & Ginporium in Rawtenstall, shut its doors once again, blaming Covid-19 regulations and restrictions for ‘sucking the fun’ out of the pubgoing experience.
Mike Jones said the latest tranche of restrictions – including 10pm last orders, table service only and mandatory mask wearing – threatened the viability of their business.
Firefighters battled to bring a blaze under control after flames ripped through a three-storey house on Plantation Street, Stacksteads, forcing a family to flee.
Bacup Camera Club’s Centenary Photographic Competition, held in collaboration with the Bacup Now Community Group, invited entries depicting how people would remember lockdown.
The winning photo from Hollie Clough, ‘Lottie Bloom’, showed a grandparent entertaining her baby grandchild over a video call.
More than 900 campaigners had signed a petition calling for council chiefs to abandon an expansion of industrial land into picturesque Valley green belt. Residents in Townsend Fold formed a campaign group opposed to the New Employment Site Allocation NE4 – Extension of New Hall Hey, Rawtenstall.
More than 1,000 residents signed a petition objecting to a proposed housing development in Haslingden.
Grane Residents’ Association set-up the petition to raise concerns on flood risk, traffic and the loss of habitat. The plans, if approved, would see 131 residential houses built on the greenfield site near Haslingden Grane.
A multi-million pound blueprint to transform Haslingden was approved ready for a bid for National Lottery cash.
The scheme was to be submitted early in 2021 in the hope work can start in summer. A detailed stage two bid for £3.4million, part of the Haslingden 2040 Vision and Masterplan, was approved by councillors.