Pendle Council lays out big project spending plan for the next 12 months

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Pendle councillors have backed an updated list of key finance-linked projects including developing land for a new Nelson and Brierfield cemetery, extending Lomeshaye Industrial Estate near the M65, Nelson and Brierfield regeneration, and Colne theatre upgrades.

An update on large ‘capital’ projects and finances came at the latest full council meeting.

Read More
Opening date for new REEL Cinema revealed

A revised capital programme for the 2023-24 financial year totalling almost £26million was approved. Over £21million is earmarked for regeneration, including £4million for Colne Indoor Market Hall’s redevelopment and over £11 million for Nelson projects.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Brierfield Northlight development, Pendle.Brierfield Northlight development, Pendle.
Brierfield Northlight development, Pendle.

Other projects include Brierfield Mill, now called Northlight; and the PEARL Together joint venture. Developer Barnfield is one of the joint venture partners at various sites.

Other capital schemes include spending over £2million on homes, including revamping empty properties and warm home grants.

A mixture of council efficiencies through its Transformation Programme, prudential borrowing, grants, Section 106 planning agreement money and new extra income, through changes to planning and licensing fees for example, was helping finances, it was reported.

Land at Halifax Road in Nelson was bought earlier this year for a new cemetery. Next steps there will be to look at building work.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, a separate issue is funding for a borough crematorium somewhere. But that is not currently viable, it was said.

During questions, Conservative Coun. Martyn Stone asked: “Regarding the crematorium proposal, does the leader agree that crematorium facilities are important for residents and could he explain what the Executive is going to do about that? ”

Labour Coun Asjad Mahmood, the new council leader, said: “The crematorium is a big issue. At this stage we feel it would not be financially viable. It could cost up to £8million and we are under pressure. Our budget has been slashed by 60 to 70% over 13 years. We have got to be cautious.”

Regarding Colne government-backed Levelling-Up schemes, Conservative Coun. Kevin Salter understood the council’s new director of place was given delegated authority to manage theatre upgrades on Colne Muni, Pendle Hippodrome and the Little Theatre. But Coun. Salter also understood there was already a consultancy team dealing with this. He asked for clarification.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Still on Colne, Conservative Coun. David Cockburn-Price welcomed the recent ‘yes’ referendum vote for its Neighbourhood Plan and support for the town’s Business Improvement District.

Commenting on the latest schemes, he said: “It’s a good, lean, mean capital programme. It focuses on good things so I will support it too. Empty homes will be turned around and sold.”

He added: “The vast majority of the capital programme is funded by various grants and Nelson schemes are part of that. However, the reserves are in short supply, at £8.9million and only part of it is free to use. We have got to be careful with reserves. Let’s keep a close eye on them. Let’s be clear if we need do things or not.

“But I’m pleased to see transformation benefits. Let’s focus on delivering projects and getting things done. ”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lib-Dem Coun. David Whipp, the new deputy leader of Pendle Council, welcomed various aspects including help to fund new homes around Earby and Colne.

He added: “I hear what David Cockburn-Price says. The council is in a fortunate position that borrowing for capital schemes was done in advance, when interest rates were very low including a 50-year loan to have relatively cheap money.

“We have money in the bank and building societies which is now earning good interest. This is helping to off-set some of the inflationary down-side we have suffered.

“There are lots of good things we’d like to do, which are not included on this list, because we can’t afford them. The things included on this list are either extremely important or not having a detrimental effect on council finances.”