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Threat to close as residents demand action

AN ACCRINGTON residents' association is threatening to close down unless there are signs of action in its area.

AN ACCRINGTON residents' association is threatening to close down unless there are signs of action in its area.

Members of the West Accrington Residents' Association said they were fed up of being told about major plans for the area - and then not seeing any results.

Group secretary Joan Pilkington said that the number of residents involved in the association was dwindling as a result and she is now demanding an explanation from Hyndburn FIRST, the council's regeneration arm.

She said: "We seem to just be living on promises. We're desperately trying to hold the group together but we need a definite plan of what is going to happen and when."

"What is the point in carrying on if we're only going to get empty promises? We're always being consulted about how money should be spent, but in the last 10 years not a brick has moved and not a blade of grass has been cut in Blackburn Road."

"We were promised a health centre and that seems to be disappearing. And they've been telling us that Project Phoenix is about to start for the last two years, but it hasn't yet."

"We only want to do something positive for the area but we just seem to be going from one dream to the next. People can't see anything happening so they're all getting very disillusioned."

She said that the group's own recent successes had included getting funding for its own youth worker and starting up a popular youth club in the area, but it wanted support from Hyndburn FIRST for the bigger projects.

Nigel Rix, director of Hyndburn FIRST, denied that nothing was happening in the area and said that Project Phoenix - which involves buying up existing properties, demolishing them and replacing them with new-build homes - was underway.

He said that 50 residents in the Project Phoenix area had already moved out of their homes and the first phase of demolition should start by the summer.

Mr Rix added that plans for a new health centre in the Blackburn Road area were also progressing, but he described it as a "medium-term" project that would take another two-to-three years to prepare.

He said: "It is understandable that some residents would feel that nothing is happening, but work is in progress - although we recognise that there is a lot more to do."

The association will next meet on 10 June and Mr Rix said he hoped to arrange a walk around the regeneration area with residents to show them what is being done.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
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