Two East Lancashire town centres to get county cash for revamps

Lancashire County Council has stumped up £350,000 to help complete two town centre upgrade schemes which are short of cash.
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County Hall will provide the funding to Pendle and Rossendale councils for projects to revamp parts of Barnoldswick and Rawtenstall.

The borough authorities approached the county council to request that it match the amounts they are each contributing towards the work in their areas.

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An urgent decision was taken last month by county leader Geoff Driver and his deputy Keith Iddon to issue £200,000 to Pendle for the Barnoldswick scheme and £150,000 to Rossendale for the project in Rawtenstall.

Barnoldswick town centre, pictured in September 2018 (image: Google Streetview)Barnoldswick town centre, pictured in September 2018 (image: Google Streetview)
Barnoldswick town centre, pictured in September 2018 (image: Google Streetview)

A report detailing the decision notes that the county’s contribution will “improve accessibility, [and make the areas] more attractive for residents, businesses and visitors”.

It adds: “It is also envisaged that the additional and new investment...will assist in post-Covid-19 economic recovery programmes, focussing upon kick-starting further growth, jobs and investment.”

The Barnoldswick scheme, which is already under way, includes the renewal of flagged paving, widening of pedestrian access and improved drainage systems. The work has a particular focus on enhancing accessibility for vulnerable road users - via the installation of studs at new, smooth crossing points and the removal of trip hazards and obstructions for the benefit of blind and partially-sighted people and the disabled.

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Locally-sourced materials from Whitworth Quarry in Rossendale will also be used to develop “the heritage aesthetic” of the town centre.

In Rawtenstall, the County Hall cash will contribute towards the completion of a redesigned town square, close to the separate multi-million pound scheme to refurbish the Old Town Hall and create a new bus station.

The county council report notes that it will “transform a neglected piece of landscape” at the heart of the town and create “an outside meeting point, which is particularly important during Covid”.

Both projects were deemed to be high value for money for Lancashire County Council because of the investment already being made by the two district authorities. Grant funding agreements will now be entered into with both boroughs.

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The county council may have to borrow to fund its share of the investment, at an annual cost of £26,250 for the next 20 years. However, if the schemes are judged to meet the criteria for the Lancashire Economic Recovery Grant programme - for which bids are being considered - the money could come from that pot instead.