Councillors have clashed over plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pendle Council by promoting the borough as the place to work, live and play.
Proposals for new road signs at gateway points and a new logo were discussed by the council’s Executive on Thursday – but Conservative and Liberal Democrat members were divided on what should be done. Conservative Coun. James Starkie, who holds the communications and engagement portfolio, said: “We’re launching an enterprising marketing initiative for Pendle’s future.
“We recognise that the economic vitality of the borough can be driven by embracing the concept of a new tagline and logo.” But Liberal Democrats attacked the proposals, with Coun. David Whipp describing the proposed tagline of “Pendle – The In Place to Work – Live – Play” as a “moronic Mars bar logo”. Under the proposals, businesses and organisations across Pendle will be able to use a new shield shape logo on their own promotional material.
Coun. Starkie said: “Pendle is more than a district council – it is now an established geographical area with a great deal to offer.” He said the aim was to:
l Encourage employment opportunities to create a stronger local economy.
l Promote the pleasant and great value housing, for people working within or outside the borough.
l Highlight the outstanding recreational facilities on our doorstep.
“Part of this campaign is designed to change hearts and minds, so that we can all have pride in Pendle and work together to make the most of our wonderful borough,” he said.
The Brand Pendle initiative has the committed support of this series of newspapers along with Pendle Vision Board, Pendle Leisure Trust and Nelson and Colne College. But Liberal Democrats called for the idea to be scrapped. At the Executive meeting, group leader Coun. John David said: “This is an extraordinary scheme. People in Pendle will not welcome this when we’re strapped for cash.”
And Coun. Whipp said: “This is an outrageous waste of money, promoting a moronic mars bar message with a poorly designed logo. It should be scrapped.”
This week, non-executive councillors, led by Barnoldswick councillor Ken Hartley, have called for a rethink on the Brand Pendle plan. He said: “From my experience as an industrialist, I would not touch either the concept or the art work with a proverbial barge pole. I am fully incensed with the proposal and its total insensitivity to the current financial climate.”
Liberal councillors say individual towns within the Pendle area have proud and distinct identities. “These should be celebrated, not buried beneath meaningless marketing speak,” said Councillor Whipp. “Pendle Hill and the Pendle Witches have a national profile. Why should they be airbrushed away and replaced by meaningless squiggles on a new logo?”
Proposed new boundary signs are also criticised by Liberal councillors for being “cluttered and incompetent”.
Coun. Hartley’s request for the issue to be reconsidered by the Executive should lead to the matter being discussed again at the executive meeting in March.