Published January 10, 2019 at 15:44
Happy New Year everyone. I hope everyone had a safe and peaceful start to 2019.
I am delighted to see a new business has moved into the town as a result of the improvements brought about by the THI funding . The funding has made a real difference to the area and I was really pleased to see lots of positive comments to the before and after pictures our brilliant project officer released on the THI’s Facebook page.
As I said in my last update, the project is drawing to a close but it will be a springboard for further improvements to the town. I truly believe this funding is the start of something special. The future is bright despite the challenges we all know we face.
I am especially sure Bacup is on the up because of the superb community groups and volunteers we have operating in the town such as Bacup Now and Bacup Pride. They deserve all the praise they get. They make the town more vibrant and show it in its best light. The Council will continue to work with them.
We have had a few questions on various issues through the THI Facebook page so I hope to address them here before giving an update on the fountain.
The REAL building has a new tenant and they are doing their own internal works at the moment and I anticipate them to be opening soon. It will be great to see.
There has been some concern, rightly, about 31 St James Street and the shop exterior not being in keeping with the surrounding area. Our enforcement officer is working with the tenant and I hope that issue will be resolved imminently.
I would now like to say a few words about the fountain. There are a lot of passionate people who want to see it restored as a water feature. My own views are well known but I fully accept the decision that was reached to keep it where it was.
A group of hard working and tenacious volunteers are coming together to try to get the water flowing again in the fountain. They have done a lot of work already to try to make it happen.
Unfortunately, so far, Lancashire County Council has not sanctioned it. County do need to as they are in charge of highways. But I want to make clear that if that position changes, and the Friends of Bacup Fountain group is able to put forward a workable plan, I am happy to lend my support to it. We won’t be doing anything to prevent this as a long term aim and we won’t be putting any blocks in the path. But it really needs LCC to change its position. I wish the group the best of luck though with their project.
However, in the meantime, we are trying to improve the fountain as it is and are looking to install an attractive lighting feature in it. We are seeking planning permission and we are asking businesses to quote through the normal Council processes to see how much it will cost. We will then seek final approval from our funders, the THI, for the finances. There is no specific budget set aside for this work at present and we will have to make a final case for it to our funders. But given funding for THI is time limited and money cannot be carried over, this is the only proposal we can potentially make happen. I believe it will make the town centre look better than it currently is.
Finally, for people interested in the THI project overall, there will be an update at the Community Partnership Meeting (formerly Neighbourhood Forum) at 6.30pm on Thursday February 28. Please come along and ask any questions.
Thanks for reading.
Councillor Jackie Oakes