The recent, Accrington town centre investment plan has some good ideas but will it ever happen? Additionally, what happened to the rest of Hyndburn? Have we been levelled off or levelled up?
The investment plan is a long term project expected to bring 70m of investment. Moreover, it is also expected to bring £9.6m of benefit to the town. Furthermore, visitor numbers would increase by 820,000.
External consultants Bradshaw Advisory were brought in to draft the plan. Additionally, they worked with local community leaders via two boards. The main board being the Accrington Town centre Parnership. Another, smaller board was appointed to guide the project.
In order to increase the chance of getting funding, Government processes and assessment criteria have been used.Hyndburn Borough Council, along with the community groups, have drafted the plan. So what is in store? Over thirty interventions were proposed, with eighteen given the go ahead for the plan.
Amy Tinley, Associate Director at Bradshaw Advisory and previous UK Government Special Advisor:
“It was clear from discussions with the partnership groups and the representative polling we commissioned that the future of Accrington needed to have heritage front and centre. This gave Bradshaw Advisory a clear vision and path to follow when undertaking our research and assessment process.
“We used the Treasury’s Green Book to rigorously and independently assess different possible interventions and only recommended those that met the criteria. This approach, alongside the input of the Partnership Group and Board, means the TCIP for Accrington is driven by both community, evidence and official guidance – giving it the best chance of success.”
Heritage front and centre
The plan emphasises the heritage nature of the area with plans to enhance the Town Hall and Market house.
Amy Tinley, Associate Director at Bradshaw Advisory and previous UK Government Special Adviser, said: “It was clear from discussions with the partnership groups and the representative polling we commissioned that the future of Accrington needed to have heritage front and centre”
The plans include proposals to:
- Transform the market hall into a cultural venue
- Upgrade the Victorian arcade
- Open a restaurant or museum in the former Yorkshire bank building
- Use the ground floor of burtons chambers
- Create a park and ride scheme
- Create a Visitor centre at Platts lodge
- Renovate the former Police station for hospitality
- Use parts of the Arndale for non retail
Making a feature of Platts lodge is a good idea. But, does that mean we can feed the birds now?
The rest of Hyndburn?
There are also heritage features in the other townships, such as Towngate in Great Harwood and Martholme viaduct. Comment below.
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