Published March 25, 2019 at 15:15
A new vision for Bacup, shaped by residents and businesses, has been published.
Bacup 2040 Vision has been used as a basis of a bid for the Future High Street Fund, which the Council confirmed it was applying for last month.
More than £2m of investment has been brought into the town already through the Bacup Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) fund. The development of the vision and the masterplan is part of work to build in the success of the THI and bring in further investment
Initial ideas put forward in the vision and masterplan include:
- Improving the food and drink offer by expanding the pavement area around Union Street which is central to the core town centre to encourage a café culture.
- A redeveloped market area which would act as a market and events area
- The five derelict buildings to be re-purposed so that they can be brought back into use
- Making sure there is sufficient parking available including council owned car parks which the Council has pledged will remain free.
The vision and masterplan are not final proposals but ambitions on how Bacup could look in the future.
The Council is committed to bringing in funding for its town centres and has placed the future of the borough’s town centres as the number one priority in its economic development strategy. Work continues on multimillion pound Spinning Point development while the Council has released announced match funding for Haslingden as it prepares for bidding for National Lottery Heritage Funding for Deardengate.
Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of the Council, said:
“We know how difficult things are for the high street these days but as a Council we are absolutely determined to bring in the investment and funding needed to improve our town centres.
“As we can see from the exciting things happening in Rawtenstall, with a bit of imagination, vision and partnership working, town centres can buck that national trend.
“We can only make progress though with a clear vision which has been shaped and influenced by residents and businesses in those town centres which is why I am so pleased we are able to publish the vision for Bacup as we have worked hard to gather views on what Bacup look like in the future
“Of course, we have to keep that process up. We want this vision to be the basis of a new relationship between the Council and the people and businesses of Bacup.
“The vision and masterplan will continue to evolve and further discussion is needed with the community before any plans are implemented.
“I hope our bid for future high street is successful. I am pleased to say a number of people have come forward to support it including Jake Berry, the local MP and also Minister for Northern Powerhouse. Hopefully, he can use his influence to improve the chance of us being successful
Councillor Jackie Oakes, Interim Chair of the THI, added:
“As the THI comes to a close now is a great opportunity to measure what has been achieved and to look to the next steps to continue to move Bacup forward. We know there are still considerable challenges to overcome such as five derelict buildings in the town centre, lack of private sector investment, vacant shops that need uses and a traditional market place that needs improving. However, there is a strong community spirit in Bacup and there is a large number of passionate individuals who are going to be key in helping draw up plans for the future.”
To help develop the Bacup vision and associated masterplans, the Council surveyed hundreds of residents and businesses.
A report, which has also been published, outlined many of the challenges people felt Bacup faced.
Key findings included:
- 86% of respondents would like more things to do in the evening
- 83% of respondents want more themed events
- 93% of respondents would like to see more restaurants and bars
- 91% of people felt that the recently completed Bacup THI project 2013-2019 had made the shops more attractive
- 70% of respondents to the Town Centre Survey felt that Bacup is now a more attractive place to shop due to the THI.
- 50% of respondents on the Town Centre Survey revealed that they felt better connected to Bacup’s heritage as a result of the THI project.
Councillor Andrew Walmsley, who led one of the recent engagement events, said:
“The survey shows that there is a real untapped appetite for events, cafes, restaurants, specialist markets and leisure space so that people can enjoy spending time in the town centre. There have been some excellent ideas put forward which have been incorporated in the vision. It’s now our job to bring the funding in to deliver these aspirations over the coming years. We want Bacup to be a town centre its residents and businesses can be proud of. We will continue to work with residents, businesses and partners to achieve that goal.”