Published November 6, 2019 at 11:35
A landmark building in Bacup town centre is to be transformed and preserved for future generations to use.
The iconic Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, on the corner of Market Street and Union Street, stands proud with its corner turret, four Harry Potter-esque gargoyles, three shields and two lions – even the bank safe remains in the basement.
Now, thanks to a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund and further funding from Rossendale Borough Council, preservation charity Valley Heritage is investing in the Grade II Listed building’s future.
“In the 19th Century when building banks, the architecture was high quality and the design of the building was all about trying to engender a sense of confidence and that is appropriate to what we are doing today,” said Valley Heritage chairperson Stephen Anderson.
“It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Bacup with its instantly recognisable Scottish Baronial style. It is utterly beautiful.
“Valley Heritage has got confidence in Bacup and that is why we want to preserve that building, there are challenges but there are real indications of positive change.”
Valley Heritage will now be bidding for a further £400,000 to renovate the interior, once remedial work to make the place watertight is carried out.
Its future use will be two-fold. The ground floor and basement storage will be a co-working hub for freelancers and people currently working from home with separate spaces to use for meetings. This will be in partnership with Indycube.
Upstairs will be four supported self-contained apartments for single young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and will be run in conjunction with the M3 Project in Rawtenstall.
Liz Hall from Liz Henson Photography, based in Stacksteads, said: “The nearest co-working space is Burnley or Bury, and the distance does not make it viable, but this does.
“I have limited space at home and I have a young family. As well as being able to use desk space for working and editing, the separate rooms could be used for head shots and as a studio.”
Local businesses have also backed the project: Ruth Winter, of Winter Solicitors provided free legal advice and Barista 1832 held a pop-up co-working event at the café on St James Street; this will be repeated.
Trustee from the Architectural Heritage Fund Ade Alao said: “Valley Heritage came to us in the summer and they had the opportunity to acquire this building and turn it into something special – what we try to do is support projects to get heritage buildings back into use.”
Construction on the building started in 1870 and the bank opened in 1876 initially it was Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, which evolved out of the Alliance Bank. In the 1950s it was Martins Bank before becoming Barclays until 1970.
Over the years it has also been a funeral director, restaurant and latterly was converted into bedsits, but was subject to a closure order.
Valley Heritage is looking to hear from residents, businesses and community groups that want the help in the regeneration of the building.
Welcoming the news, Councillor Andrew Walmsley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: