2014: Year of investment and great openings

Steven Burke performs the sod cutting ceremony to mark the start of work on the new Cycle Track at Swinden Playing Fields in Nelson.'Photo Ben Parsons
Steven Burke performs the sod cutting ceremony to mark the start of work on the new Cycle Track at Swinden Playing Fields in Nelson.'Photo Ben Parsons

As we approach Christmas, it is always worth reflecting on the past year, the changes we have seen and what the New Year may hold.

For many families in Pendle, the past year has been tough, but while there’s more to do, it is clear the economy has turned a corner.

This can be seen locally with a record number of apprenticeships and unemployment down over 50% from its peak.

We have seen a raft of new businesses opening, with the number of empty shops in Colne more than halved and Barnoldswick winning a High Street Award.

This looks set to continue with my fourth annual jobs fair already oversubscribed with employers looking to recruit.

However, risks remain and Rolls-Royce’s decision to make a further 40 redundancies is deeply disappointing at a time when the company is securing record levels of orders.

The past year saw a lot of local projects come to a conclusion.

The opening of three brand new primary schools in September, the £3.6m. investment at Nelson and Colne College and the opening of the Steve Burke sports hub were all major highlights.

However, in the year where I had to rely on NHS treatment it has been most satisfying to see the opening of the new £9m. Urgent Care Centre at Burnley General Hospital, the opening of a new Colne Health Centre and the opening of a new £6.3m. Accident and Emergency at Airedale Hospital.

For me, the run-up to Christmas has been hectic, with Christmas lunches, carol services, Christmas fairs and church services.

One of the best parts of my job is visiting so many different groups and seeing the tremendous work of so many volunteers across all the towns and villages that make up Pendle.

Can I wish all readers and their families all the best for Christmas.