Published June 11, 2019 at 13:42
So the £2m Bacup Townscape Heritage Initiative has come to an end and I think most people will agree it has been a major boost to the town.
You just have to walk around Bacup to see the difference it has made. I have had many people come to speak to me or through Facebook saying the project has been a huge benefit to the town.
I was especially pleased to see the reaction to the lighting scheme we installed in the Coronation Fountain. It does look a lot better. It is worth reiterating though the improvements will not hamper the long term goal of getting water flowing through the fountain again. Again, I wish the Friends of Coronation Fountain the best of luck in their project.
We have been very clear the THI money is only the start of the journey to transform Bacup. We need to build on the project’s success. We still have plenty of challenges here and a lot of work to do.
We need more money. But the THI shows we can bring in funding and we will continue to search for more resources to complete the work.
The future is bright. Lots of work has gone into creating the Bacup 2040 vision – our masterplan to modernise the town centre. I was really pleased that it has been shaped by residents and businesses. The vision and masterplan are not final proposals but ambitions on how Bacup could look in the future.
Despite the challenges we all know, and some cases can see, exist, I think there is lots of positives at the moment.
The Bacup Now community festival was brilliant. The town, its residents and its businesses really came together. It showed what a great community spirit exists here. There are so many great people in the town, who really care about it and its people and I want to thank them for their continued efforts.
We have also seen new businesses, especially food and drink ones, moving into the centre. It is shows confidence in Bacup is starting to build and there is a vibrancy growing around the town.
We need to carry on building that buzz and the Council will continue to look for opportunities to bring in the resources needed to do that.
While the THI project has been successful, there are lessons we can learn from the process. I will be first to admit, at times, community engagement could have been better, especially in the beginning.
If we are successful in our bid for Future High Street funding, we will certainly improve on that. We want to use a successful bid for that funding to use as a spring board for developing a new relationship with the residents and business of Bacup.
After all, we all want the same thing – a better Bacup. We can achieve that by working together.
Finally, it would remiss of me not to say a big thank to everyone involved in the project such as the board, the advisors, the Council’s economic development team led by Guy Darragh, the contractors and various other organisations.
I want to thank the residents and businesses who have been involved in making it successful. But most of all I want to thank our project officers, first Megan Eastwood and then later Mhorag Saxon who have worked tirelessly to successfully deliver the THI project.
So here’s to the future. I truly believe if everyone continues to work together we can really build something special here.