Curtains up on £6.5m. 'Colne Heritage Quarter'
Theatre lovers across Pendle are set to benefit from today’s Budget, with three theatres in Colne securing a major investment.
The investment in Colne’s Muni, Pendle Hippodrome Theatre and Colne’s Little Theatre is one of 12 projects set to receive support from the £232m. Levelling Up Fund to help working families, support business and drive economic growth as the country recovers from the pandemic.
Pendle Council submitted a bid for the funding, supported by the borough's Andrew Stephenson, back in June.
The £6.5m. project, named “Colne Heritage Quarter”, aims to enrich Colne’s cultural offer by investing in three theatres (The Muni, Hippodrome and Little Theatre) by providing new and enhanced facilities, creating a collaborative, distinct and complementary offer which underpins growth in Colne’s night-time economy.
Kevin Mason, the chairman of Pendle Hippodrome Theatre, said: "We will be allocated £1.8m. This amount of money is astounding not only for our theatre but for Colne and the wider community.
"The benefit to us, the businesses and night time economy of Colne will be immeasurable and has left us in a bit of shock! We can now press ahead and transform the former Derby Arms, making our theatre accessible to all and ensuring live theatre can stay at the heart of our town for many years to come.
"We would like to thank Coun. Sarah Cockburn-Price for all her hard work, we are certain we would not have been awarded this transformational amount of money without her help and input."
Mr Stephenson said theatres aee an integral part of Colne’s wider cultural offer which also includes live music venues, restaurants, bars and cafes.
"The theatres have really suffered during the pandemic, having to close their doors to the public and whilst the Muni benefitted from significant government funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, this investment will boost all three theatres for years to come," he added.
Colne Coun. Sarah Cockburn-Price said the money would be "a gamechanger" for the volunteer-led Hippo and Little Theatre.
She added: "It will fund an expansion into its courtyard for The Little Theatre and it will finally realise the dream of incorporating The Derby Arms into The Hippo.”
Colne County Coun. Ash Sutcliffe said: “This investment in the cultural heritage of Colne is much welcomed and instils confidence in the wider economy of the town. Colne is famous for its theatre and music venues so improved provision will encourage more visitors and better-quality entertainment. A great day for Colne”
As well as the good news for Colne, the whole of the northwest will also benefit from its share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is focussed on helping people into jobs and supporting businesses, including giving hundreds of thousands of adults the opportunity to develop their numeracy skills though the adult numeracy programme, “Multiply”, and a new £660m. Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund from additional funding for the British Business Bank.
Transport links are also set for more funding, with £32.6 billion for local upgrades over this Parliament, including £24 billion for strategic roads investment such as the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine.