Government Minister’s Pendle visit

Coun. Joe Cooney, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, Secretary of State Eric Pickles MP, Barnfield boss Tim Webber, the council's Dean Langton and Coun. Tony Greaves.
Coun. Joe Cooney, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, Secretary of State Eric Pickles MP, Barnfield boss Tim Webber, the council's Dean Langton and Coun. Tony Greaves.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mr Eric Pickles MP, has had a look round key restoration schemes in Nelson and Brierfield.

And it was revealed that his wife Mrs Irene Pickles is originally from Pendle – she lived in Earby! She joined him on his tour here.

Initially, he went along to the Whitefield area of Nelson. He looked at terraces being restored and went into one of the houses on Mosley Street which is a sample of restored homes and visitable by the public. He also saw the new Whitefield Infant School and Nursery Unit.

But Mr Pickles then went along to Northlight in Brierfield, which until recently was Brierfield Mills. It is being recreated in a whole series of ways by PEARL, Pendle Council’s pioneering regeneration partnership with Nelson firm Barnfield Construction.

And after looking round there, he walked across to Holden Road to see new homes and another mill which has been given a new life by PEARL – Lob Lane Mill, which is now called Quaker Heights. It has become big houses.

Mr Pickles was joined by people including Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, Pendle Council leader Coun. Joe Cooney, deputy leader Coun. Tony Greaves – who as a Lord is working in Parliament along with the MP and Secretary of State – Coun. Paul White, Pendle deputy chief executive Philip Mousdale, the council’s head of central and regeneration Mr Dean Langton, the chairman and managing director of Barnfield Construction Tim Webber, and others.

In interview, Mr Pickles initially revealed: “I have used to live across the hill in Keighley!”

After looking round Whitefield he said: “It’s good to see these streets here retained and enhanced. I am very pleased it is helping to buy houses. The new school is great!”

And regarding the Northlight restoration, he said: “This is a very exciting project indeed.”

He added: “I’m pleased to hear that houses at Quaker Heights will now be available to aspiring home owners with a fraction of the deposit they would normally expect, thanks to our Help to Buy scheme.

“It’s also been good to see – first-hand – how the ambitious plans for Nelson’s regeneration are shaping up, and some of the new affordable homes they are delivering.”

Regarding Pendle he said: “This is a good place to live, a good place to work in and a good place to return to after university.”

And he told his hosts: “I’ve had a great trip. I’m really very impressed.” And he revealed to them he was very impressed with the Northlight scheme, too.

At Northlight, Pendle Council leader Coun. Cooney said: “This is the third Government Minister visit to the mill here. The Secretary of State was really impressed!”

Mr Tim Webber said: “He was very impressed and very surprised of the whole scheme. I think he was surprised by the good condition of the mill. He thinks it is very significant regarding schemes in the borough.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I was pleased to welcome Eric back to Pendle. I was delighted he took time to visit Brierfield Mill and some of the regeneration projects the council is taking.”

And Coun. Greaves said: “This is a fantastic scheme. It needs initial funding and with all the loans from the Government’s growth project.”

He revealed that the loans are organised by the Central Government and round here by Lancashire County Council, and campaigns are taking place to support Pendle plans. He was pleased Mr Pickles came along and looked round.