A million-pound plan to breathe new life into Padiham town centre has moved a step closer.
Regeneration chiefs have now submitted an ambitious bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for cash to boost the town.
The plans would see historical buildings along the high street restored to their former glory, shop fronts improved and even investment in public artwork.
Town Centre manager hopes the funding would help push forward Padiham’s renaissance with heritage at its heart.
He said: “We have now submitted the bid. It is a real milestone. If we got it, it would make quite a significant difference to the town.
“You can see the major difference it has made in other towns that have had this type of funding.
“A great example is in Darwen where the old market frontage was restored with funding.
“It was restored to the original old shop frontages with lots of character and now there are some really good local businesses in them.
“Something like that would make a massive difference to Padiham.”
Hopes are high of securing the funding and the Town Team will find out in January if the bid has made it to the second stage.
It comes at a time when Padiham is bucking the national trend of high street decline, vacancy rates are falling and businesses are flooding back to town.
Mr Fitzgerald explained the core proposals of the bid, saying: “It would allow us to put together some significant proposals on any buildings that have really fallen into disrepair.
“We could do some major refurbishment on properties that are occupied but need roofing or structural work doing to give them a long lease of life.
“Grants are available for improving shop fronts and maybe replacing inappropriate shutters with something more in line with the Conservation Area. A little bit of money could be spent on the public realm – tidying up the street area and maybe some public art.”
Hopes are that securing funding would help building partnerships with key players like the National Trust and English Heritage as well as local groups.
He added: “It is not just about physical heritage it is about cultivating the knowledge of the heritage of Padiham and developing heritage skills within the area.
“There is so much to build on here. We already have a really exciting town trail and the Padiham Archive which bought in hundreds of visitors last year.”