A bold vision to transform Nelson town centre has taken its first steps with the backing of a government grant.
Pendle Borough Council has received £150,000 from the Future High Streets Fund to help it develop a business case for the regeneration of Nelson town centre.
“We’re delighted that Nelson has been chosen as one of 50 areas in the UK to develop exciting new plans for the future,” said leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal.
“We have ambitious plans for Nelson, working with local and regional organisations, retailers and residents.
“Our aim is to make our vision for Nelson as a town centre fit for purpose in the 21st century a reality. Its success will play a vital part in supporting the economic growth of Pendle over the next 15-20 years.
“I’d like to thank our Economic Development and Housing and Health Teams in planning this bid for funding with the right research to make a strong case for Nelson."
The plan for Nelson which has government backing to be worked up in detail includes:
• Creating a greater mix of uses in the town centre to give people more reasons to come into town;
• Re-creating the traditional high street feel which was lost through major redevelopment in the 1960s;
• Applying Healthy New Towns principles to the regeneration of the centre, embedding interventions that improve population health and the economic vitality of the wider area;
• Making Nelson a more vibrant destination by increasing the number of people using the town centre during the day and the evening to give it more vitality;
• Developing community hubs which encourage interaction;
• Looking at bringing a range of health services on the edge of the town into the centre and to form a new health hub.
Pendle Council’s chief executive Dean Langton said: “We will develop a detailed and compelling business case in a bid to get through the next stage and the chance for some substantial government funding.
“Successful towns who get their business plans approved will gain a share from the Future High Streets funding which in total is worth up to £675m. across the UK," he said.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I welcome the news that Jake Berry MP, Northern Powerhouse Minister, has recognised the need for investment in our high streets. This first tranche of funding is to assist Pendle Borough Council in making the possible case for securing part of the £675mm pot set aside by Government to support high streets across the country.
"The Government is right to recognise the challenges faced by our high streets and this significant funding is aimed to addresses these very challenges we see here in Pendle.”
The next stage will involve Pendle Borough Council developing a business case and preparing the submission for the next round of funding this autumn.