“We’re in the final countdown to the launch of a new Nelson Town Centre!” says Pendle Council leader Coun. Mike Blomeley.
Workers are putting the finishing touches to a radically-improved town centre in time for the official celebration a week tomorrow from 9-30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event marks the completion of an attractive new central area and tree-lined boulevard, replacing the windswept pedestrianised centre.
Cars will be able to drive down the high street for the first time in over 20 years and there’s a new cycle lane.
Walk the Plank’s famous Art Car Parade will be part of the celebrations to mark the re-opening of the high street after being closed for over 20 years.
To start the parade, media celebrity Tony Livesey will be arriving in style in a mini wooden Rolls-Royce with Pendle’s Mayor, Coun. Nadeem Ahmed.
True to our cotton mill tradition, Tony Livesey will ‘kiss’ the 12-metre shuttle to mark a new beginning at the heart of Nelson.
Then the colourful cavalcade of 17 weird and wonderful vehicles will start its parade. This includes a musical milkfloat everyone can play, a spaceship and a fish car.
The fun-packed day with free entertainment also includes:
l Colourful chopper dash as riders from Pendle try out the new cycle way
l Lancashire mill town song and poetry readings by Borderline Theatre Company to celebrate the town’s weaving heritage and the new engraved seating blocks
l A Nelson Monopoly inspired tricycle designed by Brierfield artist Roger Hesketh using photos supplied by local people
l Music and street theatre with Turismo Grannies. Britain’s only formation shopping trolley team descend on Nelson in their souped-up shopping trolleys!
l Live music with folk duo Tom and Giz plus a brass band and a jazz band
l Announcements throughout the day from the Best Senior Town Crier in the country, our own Coun. Tony Beckett, who is Nelson Town Crier.
“Having a really attractive public space in our town centre and re-opening the road is something which residents, traders and Pendle Council have wanted to do for years,” said Coun. Mike Blomeley. “Thanks to getting substantial funding, we’ve been able to make this dream a reality.”
Nelson is also powering up for the official launch of the Nelson Shuttle and its surrounding amphitheatre and boulevard on the same day. The sculpture, made by Nelson designer Dave Palmer, weighs in at six tonnes and is made of the same material of the Angel of the North.
It’s a modern tribute to the town’s historic role in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and is now illuminated at night.
Anita Emmott, who works in Nelson, acknowledged its links with the town’s history and said: “My mum would be so proud. She worked on a Lancashire loom at Walverden Mill, Nelson.”
Town Centres Officer Hanna Latty who’s been working on the day of celebration said: “The free event on Saturday, August 20th, marks a new step forward in the town’s history. It’ll be the most colourful day this area has ever seen!” She promised that.
The day’s event is funded by Pendle Council, the Big Lottery and Nelson Town Council and will involve some disruption to car parks and some road closures on the day to ensure safety.
Mr Brian Cookson, Pendle Council executive director for regeneration, said: “The new Nelson town centre has been made possible thanks to support from our joint project funders. The North West Regional Development Agency funded us with £1.21 million and the European Regional Development Fund gave us £950,000.
“This funding makes a real difference to Nelson,” he said. “The money could have gone to other towns or cities in the North West and to other countries in Europe, but we made a good case and won it for Nelson.
“Top quality materials such as natural stone paving are used throughout, giving the town centre a modern feel while respecting and enhancing the local heritage.
“It’s been over a year of hard graft for a team of workers and staff – plus lots of dust and noise for local traders and I appreciate that’s been hard.
“But I’m delighted that we can all get together at last with local people, traders and celebrate a town we can all be proud of and a job well done,” he added.
“There’ll still be challenges for Nelson, as there are for most towns or cities in the country, in the current climate. “But we can all do our bit to keep Nelson on course for a better future. “It’s time to talk up the town. And now we have plenty to talk about!”
9-15 a.m. Traders meet at the amphitheatre for a group photo
9-30 a.m. Car Art parade vehicles rig up at the pit stops on the Manchester Road car parking bays
10-30 a.m. Official opening of the new high street and launch of the Nelson Shuttle with Tony Livesey and Pendle’s Mayor, Coun. Nadeem Ahmed
Chance for local people to participate in ‘translating’ Lancashire dialect phrases from the new poetry blocks
11 to 11-30 a.m. Brass band
11-30 a.m. First Art Car Parade
12-15 a.m. Acoustic folk duo Tom and Giz, plus dialect and poetry
performed by Borderline Theatre Company
1 p.m. Chopper Dash
1-30 to 2 p.m. Jazz band
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Acoustic folk duo Tom and Giz
2-30 p.m. Second Art Car Parade
Road and car park closure information
Both car parks on Manchester Road will be closed on August 20th. Signs will be up on the day to warn drivers.
There is plenty of alternative FREE parking at Pendle Rise Shopping Centre and the new car park near to Pendle Wavelengths pool (formerly the Palace Bingo Hall) and other short stay parking in the town.
There will be a road closure along Holme Street and Broadway between 11-30 a.m. and 12-30 a.m. and 2-30 p.m. and 3-30 p.m. so that the Art Car Parade ban leave the new high street from Leeds Road and return to the pit stop on the Manchester Road car parks.
A council spokesman said: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but it’s in the interests of safety.”