Support is growing for a campaign to bring back the town centre’s heyday.
Fed up dad-of-two Mark Brown says the town has hit ‘rock bottom’ and has launched the Campaign for Accrington Town Centre’s Heart (CATCH).
The 40-year-old of Burnley Road, Huncoat believes Accrington badly needs a national retailer, a clean-up of flagship council offices and shops and businesses to encourage people to spend time in the town.
His Facebook campaign now has more than 230 friends including local businesses such as the Victoria Hotel, Max Cabs and Baileys Menswear, while his efforts also won support from retail guru Mary Portas.
Mark said: “This campaign has come from years of pent up frustration and I’ve had a lot of friends and acquaintances talking about how utterly disgraceful the town centre looks.
“We need to stop moaning about the problems and get together to do something about it.”
His campaign received a Twitter response from the ‘Queen of Shops’ herself retail expert Mary Portas who told him: “Accrington has a history of being proud and resilient. Keep it up.”
Mark added: “Accrington is a pound town at the moment, we have discount stores and pound shops and betting shops. I want to know why the blue chip companies aren’t setting up shops in the Arndale and why they are staying away from Accrington.
“This was once a proud and thriving time but this demise hasn’t happened overnight.”
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said the council’s Broadway offices were due to be brightened up by a mural commemorating the Accrington Pals to mark the First World War centenary in 2014.
He added: “Some of these issues are outside of the council’s control and of course people’s shopping habits have changed with online shopping.
“Town centres will have to respond to that but it won’t happen overnight.
“The council is dealing with huge spending reductions but we’re doing our utmost with regeneration projects in Woodnook and other areas.”
He denied there was a lack of pride in the area and said economic progress and regeneration would come from new industries such as aerospace, IT and improving the area’s manufacturing base.
For more information on the campaign visit CATCH Accrington on Facebook.
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