A £2m redevelopment is set to transform Accrington town centre and create a lasting tribute to the Pals.
Town hall bosses were celebrating this week after hearing they had been successful in their bid for lottery funding.
It will see the creation of a new public square which will feature a memorial to the Accrington Pals.
The plans will also see historic buildings repaired, shop fronts restored and vacant buildings brought back into use.
The money will be spent over five years from 2014 and focus on transforming Blackburn Road around the Town Hall and Market Hall.
Deputy council leader Councillor Clare Pritchard, who serves on the Accrington town centre regeneration board, said it was ‘fantastic’ news and the council’s perseverance in submitting a second THI bid had paid off.
She said: “Our first bid was rejected but we were convinced it was worthy so we’re delighted it’s been accepted this time.
“This just highlights our commitment to the town centre and I think it will make a huge difference.”
She said the development would work alongside plans already in place to build a new bus station on Crawshaw Street.
Coun Pritchard said: “The new bus station coming to the other side of town highlights that we still want to work on the area where the bus station was.”
And council leader Miles Parkinson said the bid would help the council commemorate the Pals and the Great War centenary.
He said: “This is about commemorating the Great War but also realising we need to rejuvenate the town centre in terms of culture and leisure and retail and restore our magnificent buildings to their full splendour.”
He added the council was looking at whether to continue with a planned mural of the Pals on the Broadway offices.
Under the plans the council will receive £1.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund along with £500,000 invested by the council and £25,000 of development funding from the Lottery to get the plans in motion.
The latest announcement means the money has been set aside for Accrington, provided town hall bosses fulfill the bid requirements.
Students from Accrington and Rossendale College will learn about the repair and restoration of historic buildings and working with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, community activities will be held to coincide with national commemorations of the First World War.
The plans aim to complement the development of Accrington Railway Station and the transformation of Accrington Market Hall.
Over the next 12 months, the council will be working with property owners along Blackburn Road to identify improvements and commission architects to design the public space.
David Welsby, chief executive of Hyndburn Council, said the plans would secure the future of the town centre and improve historic buildings on one of the town’s arterial routes.
He added: “Recognising that the square is in the heart of Accrington, the council will be working with local people and a variety of organisations, including the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, to ensure that these works provide a fitting remembrance of those from the Pals that lost their lives during the First World War.”
Cath Holmes, who is on the Pals working committee for the centenary celebrations, said the funding was good news.
She said: “There’s already a lot we’re planning so I think what the council is doing will complement that.
“We’re going to have a piece of commemorative art at the Coppice but not everyone can get up there. I don’t know about
having a new memorial near the town hall though, there’s already one on Church Street which isn’t that far.”