AMBITIOUS plans to bring Accrington into the 21st century over the next 15 years have been given the green light.
Hyndburn councillors voted to pass the visionary Town Centre Masterplan at this week’s Cabinet meeting.
It is hoped the plan, a culmination of over a year of detailed design and consultation work by Manchester-based regeneration co-operative URBED, will transform the town and encourage new business into the area.
The project recommends:
- Moving the bus station to Crawshaw Street, off King Street, behind the old Kwik Save store.
- Improving the Arndale Centre by reorganising the shop layout in a bid to attract larger retailers.
- Reinstating Blackburn Road as the town's high street.
- Concentrating the hub of the town centre around the Town Hall and market by refurbishing the market and improving its environment.
- Creating a new square known as Abbey Square to define the key arrival point to the town centre and improving its junction.
- Redeveloping the Grange Lane area for housing and improved green space.
- Improving the heritage buildings along Blackburn Road and Cannon Street.
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Brit-cliffe said: "We have to use the masterplan as a guide to what might happen to the town.
"There are a lot of factors that may influence the masterplan including whet-her or not the Government will let Tesco build a new store in the town centre and the removal of the bus station to Crawshaw Street.
"If both of these schemes get the go-ahead we will have to take into consideration the traffic flow and possibly adapt the plans.
"We need this masterplan to be reactive to the outcome of issues we do not yet know."
The council aims to set up a streamlined regeneration board to deal with these issues.
Councillor Britcliffe said: "The board could do with meeting quarterly with councillors at Lancashire County Council to discuss any developments that may affect the masterplan but as usual LCC is being unco-operative.
"In my opinion we need people like County Councillor Miles Parkinson to improve the communication channels between the two councils so we can deliver the things that really matter to the people of Accrington."
The approval of the masterplan now authorises the head of regeneration and housing to convert the scheme into a statutory area action plan which sees development stages planned out until June 2010.
The approval also has a large effect on future planning decisions as the committe will now have to make sure all plans fit into the masterplan vision.
A copy of the final masterplan report will be made available on the council website by the end of July, and can also be viewed at the council’s main reception.