Video: Business owner's ironic warning that Padiham town centre 'may not survive' as major £10M improvement works get underway

Work has begun on a major scheme of £10 million improvement works in Padiham town centre.

By Susan Plunkett
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 3:45 pm

And, in a twist of irony, while the programme of public realm works along Church Street will see a range of improvements aimed at making the town more attractive and safer for shoppers and visitors, one local business owner fears the work itself may kill the town off.

The shop owner, who asked not be identified, said: "This is massively disruptive to businesses and we don't know if Padiham can survive this.

"It's a shambles and we fear there could be an accident soon as it is like dodgems out there."

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Roadworks are in place through Padiham town centre as major improvement works begins

A one way system through the town with temporary traffic lights is in place as the scheme, which is part of the North West Burnley Growth Corridor programme, sees infrastructure improvements in Padiham that also includes new flood defences for the town centre along the River Calder and Green Brook, and nearly 200 new homes on the former Baxi site.

The new system means has meant delays, particularly bad at peak times, for motorists travelling through the town.

The public realm works will complement the Townscape Heritage initiative being carried out along an area known locally as "the Hill" and the continuing refurbishment of the town hall, which will include a new business hub.

County Coun. Keith Iddon, who is Lancashire County Council's Cabinet member for highways and transport, has already appealed for people to be patient while the work is carried out saying: "We've worked with Burnley Council to develop these plans, which will improve this area of Padiham and encourage new businesses.

Roadworks are in place through Padiham town centre as major improvement works begins

"There will be some disruption to the local area while the work is carried out, but it will be worth it.

"We ask people to be patient while we carry out this improvement work, which will make it a much better experience for shoppers and help attract new businesses."

Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley Council's executive member for economy and growth, said the improvement works was 'great news' for Padiham and there were a lot of exciting changes and investment on the cards for the town.

Coun. Birtwistle said: “The aim is to improve the look of the centre and make it mre pedestrian friendly so that it’s more attractive for residents, shoppers and visitors which, in turn, will benefit local businesses.

Roadworks are in place through Padiham town centre as major improvement works begins

“Millions of pounds is being pumped into Padiham to protect its heritage and history, and to make sure it has an exciting future as well.”

The public realm scheme will include:

- Widening of the footway to improvements the environment and safety of pedestrians

- New high quality paving materials and street furniture;

Roadworks are in place through Padiham town centre as major improvement works begins

- A reduced speed limit of 20mph

- Traffic calming measures

- Improvements to the “pocket park” on "the Hill" with raised table pedestrian crossing, surface treatment and public art

- New courtesy crossing on "the Hill"

- Town hall “plaza” with zebra crossing on a raised crossing and surface treatment

- Enhanced roundabout

- Improved bus stops

The overall improvements are being funded by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Lancashire County Council and Burnley Council.

Steve Fogg, chair of the LEP which has provided over £4.8m to fund the scheme through the LEP's Growth Deal Programme said: "The North West Burnley Corridor scheme in its entirety will deliver a coordinated programme of works to unlock employment and residential growth potential in Padiham.

"The town has a fantastic heritage and the LEP recognises this. Our investment through the Growth Deal Programme will enhance Padiham's offer and provide the impetus to stimulate economic growth."

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “It is great to see that these vital improvement works are set to get under way in Padiham town centre.

“We are investing over £4.8 million in the North West Burnley Growth Corridor through our Local Growth Fund, and this latest milestone will ensure these exciting improvements can be made so that Padiham town centre is an attractive destination for the local community.”