Accrington is set to be transformed by £10m of investment to create a new town square, revamp historic buildings and build a new bus station.
The town has secured a £3m investment to restore its most treasured historic buildings and create a town square as a lasting tribute to the Accrington Pals.
Meanwhile, a controversial £6.4m scheme to create a new bus station in Crawshaw Street has been given the green light following a public enquiry.
Traders hope the developments will bring more shoppers to the town, while council bosses said the scheme will boost the economy and complement developments at Accrington Railway Station and the Market Hall.
The Accrington Pals will be the centerpiece of a new town square by the Market Hall to commemorate their sacrifice during World War One.
The plans were announced after Hyndburn Council secured a £1.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore some of Accrington’s most historic buildings.
The council will also invest an additional £1.5m to carry out essential work in the centre, Blackburn Road and Dutton Street.
Coun Clare Cleary said the cash boost will give the local economy a vital shot in the arm.
She said: “Building repairs, shop front restorations and the regeneration of vacant and underused floorspace will enhance the town’s key shopping corridor, create a strong backbone of regeneration and support recent and planned investments in the town centre.”
Hundreds of soldiers from the 11th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment – known as the Accrington Pals – were killed or injured on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said the new town square will provide a lasting tribute to the Pals.
He said: “This initiative will see the improvement of many attractive buildings along one of Accrington’s arterial routes and the development of a public realm scheme commemorating the Accrington Pals.
“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 the bravery and sacrifice of the Pals.”
Annemarie Goodwin, who owns C’Quiz gift shop on Blackburn Road, hopes the changes will bring more people to Accrington.
She said: “The town square will be lovely and the whole thing will hopefully bring more traders into the town – we need new shops.
Michael Whewell, Chamber of Trade member who owns Whewells timber on Bridge Street, said: “The Pals being recognised in this centenary year is very fitting indeed.
“As the years go by things deteriorate without people really realising but this will bring them back to their former glory.”