Dozens of people attended a consultation event to have their say on the future of Rishton’s canal corridor.
Residents, businesses, stakeholders and councillors gathered at Rishton Conservative Club to discuss ideas with town planners Barton Willmore.
The firm have been tasked by Hyndburn council to come up with a ‘masterplan’ for a stretch of the canal which will be used as a supplementary planning document for prospective developers.
The masterplan will cover various brownfield sites including Bridgfield Mill and Spring Mill on Spring Street, Victoria Mill, Rishton Mill and Wheatfield Mill on Parker Street and Daisy Mill on Henry Street.
Stephen Tucker, a partner at Barton Willmore and a lead master planner, said he hopes the scheme will provide ‘energy and investment’ into Rishton.
Speaking at the consultation event he said: “It’s been brilliant and incredibly positive.The turnout has been great and we have had some fantastic ideas.
“It’s been a really friendly and supportive atmosphere and everybody wants to be part of it. The single most important thing that comes across is the community spirit.
“A lot of the ideas have focused on housing, perhaps more housing for elderly people and alternative uses for the canal to increase its use and activity.
“This could be with cafes, pubs and retail but we are mindful that the high street has to be preserved and maintained. It’s very early days before we start to draw anything up.”
Ward councillor Harry Grayson said the canal is the ‘jewel in Rishton’s crown’.
He said: “The councillors in Rishton are very, very supportive of this. It’s an important opportunity for Rishton and is important for people here to have their input.
“We want to know what they want in Rishton.
“Rishton is so fortunate to have two-and-a-half miles of canal.”
Rishton county councillor Miles Parkinson said he is ‘very pleased’ to see progress being made.
He said: “It was one of the major issues for the Rishton ward going forward”
A further consultation meeting will be held in Rishton at the end of next month.