Independent traders and residents have been sharing their views on a new Colne town centre vision.
Put forward by senior councillors Coun. Joe Cooney, Coun. Paul White, Coun. Tony Greaves and Coun. Dorothy Lord, the aim is to protect Colne as a place for independent shops.
For Ashley Sutcliffe, who celebrated one year of running Live Like The Boy in Shackleton Hall on Saturday, the working group “is a good idea”, but one “that must include those actively working within the town centre”.
And for Thomas Jordan, Text Styles UK’s managing director, the idea is a positive one - but he added that the precinct could be a good place for a “national presence”.
Mr Sutcliffe said: “I am so happy and proud to celebrate my first anniversary of trading in my home town of Colne. The fact that that the shop has reached it’s first anniversary is testament to Colne’s support for it’s independent shops and traders.
“Saturday was a wonderful day with friends old and new from across the North West visiting the shop with flowers, cards and even a celebratory pie with a candle.
“The new working group is a good idea, amidst the recent Portas Review commissioned by the Government it was recommended that people involved with a town and it’s high street come together to form ‘Town Teams’.
“I have some reservations about the working group becoming a political football, so long as the group can remain independent and make decisions based on the best way forward for the town as a whole for many years to come instead of quick decisions that show fast change which cannot be sustained.”
And Mr Jordan added: “The old health centre building could be converted into a walk through hall, creating a centre hub for local businesses. The walkway could have two entrances, using its current entrance and creating a new one, leading to the car park behind the library.
“The internal rear part of the building, could be converted into office style shops, aimed at small businesses.
“I think the market hall requires a re-vamp, both internally and externally, enticing the customers to go and have a look. Maybe create an attraction which people will come and see, like an outdoor/farm theme.
“The precinct hall is where I think we can add a national presence to our town.
“Big names attract people from outside of Colne. A balance of local businesses and larger companies would help regenerate the town, by creating jobs and maintaining occupied shops.”
Shoppers have also been adding their thoughts to the proposals for Colne’s future.
Colne residents Alan Gunthripp (69) and Tom Wilkinson (31) both backed the new working group, and agreed that more independent clothes shops are needed in the town,
Mr Gunthripp (69) said: “I think it is a good idea. I want to see some clothes shops, because at the moment you have to go out of Colne.
“There are too many cafes and takeaways though, so we don’t need anymore of those.”
And Mr Wilkinson (31) added: “It’s a good idea. I am moving to Colne centre next month, and at the moment I live near to Asda so that’s convenient.
“I like to shop local though, so will be using the grocers and eating fresh.
“We need some more clothes shops, because at the moment you have to go to Burnley or Manchester. But I think it’s a decent town centre compared to some places, and there seems to plenty of support for independent businesses.”
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