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‘European cafe culture’ plan aims to bring buzz back to Accrington town centre

Street food and markets are being planned for the new £2m town hall square

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Street food stalls planned for Accrington town centre

Street food stalls could be used to try and attract more people into Accrington town centre.

Hyndburn council want to bring a ‘European cafe culture’ to the new £2 million town square, Blackburn Road and Broadway.

The three areas have been earmarked as potential venues by county hall bosses who are considering developing a scheme to encourage pavement cafes/restaurants.

A new policy framework would be created in consultation with local residents and businesses as well as Lancashire County Council (LCC) officers before being adopted by the local authority.

It comes after a planning committee last month refused a bid by council planning chief Coun Eamonn Higgins to create a cafe seating area on the town square.

Hyndburn council leader Coun Miles Parkinson said the move towards a ‘street economy’ will complement existing works to the new public realm which are set to be completed later this month.

The Observer revealed last week how more than 50 events have been planned on the square over the next 12 months.

Coun Parkinson said: “We want the town to seem busier and we want to help businesses to have the space to trade on the street.

"We want the town to seem busier, with people enjoying, either under cover or on a sunny day - watching the day go by. We’d have bars, cafes and shops selling their wares.

“It’s amazing when our forefathers designed Blackburn Road and area around the Market. Their vision was a Parisian boulevard.

“Town centres are changing. The most important part is that we realise the creative ambitions of the public realm - so people stay in the town after shopping to relax and socialise.”

Street food stalls planned for Accrington town centre

Simon Prideaux, chief planning officer at the council, said there is a ‘continuing need to explore and develop ways of attracting people and businesses into Accrington’.

In a report to go before the LCC’s cabinet next week, he said: “While the council is not able to influence factors such as wage inflation, exchange rates and on-line shopping trends, it is able to help shape the town centre and work towards creating an attractive place where people want to work and visit.

“Footfall is recognised as a key health indicator of town centre success and over the past ten years there have been a number of significant developments that have helped to increase the number of people in Accrington town centre and make it more attractive for business.”

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