Exciting new plans to expand an award-winning cultural venue have been unveiled

Published December 18, 2018 at 13:30


New visuals have been released as part of the submission of a planning application outlining the Whitaker’s expansion plans.

If the application is approved, the scheme will double the size of the museum, gallery, events and restaurant space, converting the current underused stables and barn area. The proposals also include an extensive list of community engagement activities, events and workshop space

The Council has been working closely with the Whitaker community interest company on the scheme since the company was successful in securing an initial £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which the Council match funded, for a first stage development grant.

Should the application be approved by planners, it will allow the Whitaker to put forward their final application to Heritage Lottery Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, to unlock a further £1.9m second stage grant.

Councillor Alyson Barnes, leader of the Council, said:

“The Whitaker is an important cultural asset for Rossendale and continues to bring in people from far and wide. These new proposals build on the achievements of the museum and are very exciting for the whole of Rossendale. We are working hard behind the scenes to grow our leisure and tourism industry and assets such as the Whitaker are key to that.”

Carl Bell, Whitaker managing director, said:

“We have been building towards this vision since April 2013, hopefully encouraging a number of people and businesses along the way and seeing a tangible and positive change across the area. If successful we want this development to be a real talisman for the renaissance of Rossendale. Not only increasing visitors to this beautiful place but supporting and helping develop the whole art, heritage and cultural offer across the valley.”

Stephen Anderson, chair of Valley Heritage and project manager, said:

“The Whitaker is an important heritage and cultural resource for Rossendale and for the wider Pennine Lancashire, which has been doing a brilliant job of engaging the community. The opportunity for The Whitaker to expand its offer is fantastic for the area; it will create jobs, put a spotlight on Rossendale, and boost tourism. It is great to see the ideas take shape and we look forward to supporting the project as it moves forwards.”

Gareth Heyhoe, director of Architecture at Day Architectural said:

“DAY Architectural are very pleased to have developed the stage 1 application to RIBA stage 3 working with the Council and the Whitaker. We are delighted with the final design which we believe is complimentary to the historic buildings and provides much needed expansion space for a range of events and activities in a contemporary setting.”


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