Colne ‘eyesore’ to undergo £1.7 million rejuvenation

PROPOSED CHANGES: Walton Street, as it should look by May 2015 (S)
PROPOSED CHANGES: Walton Street, as it should look by May 2015 (S)

Councillors have welcomed news that a Colne “eyesore” is set to undergo a £1.7 million rejuvenation.

New life will be breathed into 27 empty terraced properties in Walton Street by May 2015, with the first release of homes planned for November 2014.

The scheme, which has been announced by PlaceFirst and Together Housing Group, has been praised by Waterside councillor Coun. Tony Greaves and by leader of Pendle Council Coun. Joe Cooney.

As well as creating one three-bed property and 26 two-bed homes, the project will deliver public realm improvements to the street and rear alleys with funding from Pendle Council. Properties not acquired by PlaceFirst will also be given a facelift to ensure a consistent external appearance throughout the whole street.

Coun. Greaves said: “They are promising that one side of the street will be finished by the end of the year, and that the other side will be done by next year.

“This is really good news, as there have been so many false starts in Walton Street. The houses were originally going to be pulled down and housing built, but that fell through.

“And then we had the original PlaceFirst offer, which was supposed to be starting last November, and that got delayed.

“This will have a positive knock-on effect on surrounding streets.”

And Coun. Cooney added: “It is great that we are getting Walton Street renovated and back into use.

“Ward councillors and Graham Waugh, chair of Colne and District Committee, have been heavily involved in the process so far,

“There are 1,200 empty properties in Pendle, in comparison to 2,500 in 2010, and we are hoping to take that down even further.

“This is a big hit off our problem areas and grot spots - when it is done, it will look remarkably different.”

When completed, the homes will be managed by Colne-based housing association Housing Pendle.

David Smith-Milne, founder and managing director of Manchester-based PlaceFirst, said the work on the properties would be a “significant step forward” in the regeneration of the wider Waterside area of Colne.

He added: “The homes we are working on will be stripped back to their shells and completely refurbished to create affordable, high quality homes with household energy costs reduced by 60 per cent in most cases.”

l Anybody wanting to find out more about the Walton Street development is invited to attend the next Waterside Neighbourhood Action Group meeting at the Barrett Building, in Blucher Street. Starting at 7pm, the event will include a presentation by PlaceFirst.