Excitement has greeted the revelation that a multi-millionaire investor with links to the Far East has set his sights on helping regenerate Accrington.
Internet tycoon Graham Easton, 44, has already begun investing in the town, and says he could eventually buy up to 30 properties.
Mr Easton, who splits his time between Singapore, Turkey and the UK, already lets a property in James Street and has two more under renovation in Warner Street.
He said: “The town is full of beautiful Georgian buildings and whenever I am in the UK I always visit.
“With time I might own 30 properties, I really like the town and like the way the council operates towards investors.
“There are many high quality buildings in disrepair in Accrington.
“The property in James Street is a very fine Georgian building, it was selling at a cheap price and I saw it struggling to find any buyers.
“There is a shortage of high quality office space in Accrington so I was quick to find a tenant.
“She has brought her business into town because of the property and she now employs four people from the local area.”
The Newcastle businessman made his fortune six years ago when he established internet travel site, Travelshark.
Rob Grigorjevs, town centre manager at Hyndburn council, said it showed Accrington was moving in the right direction along with a recent upturn in interest in the Market Hall and Broadway.
He added: “Graham looked around the north of England to see where to invest his money and he has picked Accrington because we have got a good masterplan.
“Let’s be positive.?There are people outside of this town who see Accrington as a good prospect.”
Ellen Ellis, owner of bathroom accessory shop A Natural Touch on Warner Street, is hopeful of an upturn in trade.
She said: “Hopefully it will mean more people will spend their money on the street.
“A lot of people just park their cars here and go into town, so some new shops would be welcome.”
Senior councillors have also welcomed Mr Easton’s presence.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “The investment is extremely good news and the council welcomes it.”
Conservative group leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said: “I think any investment is to be greatly welcomed.”