Last week saw Rossendale Council set up a ‘Levelling Up Board’, made up of large and small businesses, community groups and key public sector partners, to launch a bid for £17m from the government’s new Levelling Up Fund.
Council leader, Alyson Barnes, said: “Rossendale is already a great place to live, work and invest but with a little help and investment from central Government we can make it even better. Traditionally we have had lower-skilled jobs in Rossendale, and we want to improve conditions to attract those businesses that will bring with them higher-skilled and better-paid jobs.
“That includes making our town centres better to attract investment, boosting footfall in the town centres, improving our road system and opening a skills and training centre in the heart of the borough.”
One such area which is hoping to benefit from the fund is Rawtenstall’s historic market, which has proposed a reconfiguration of the inside and outside space – allowing them to redevelop the space and ensure its long-term future at the heart of the town. Established just under 100 years ago, the plans propose big improvements to the tired trading space, as well as an extension of trading days and enhanced facilities.
Inside the Market you will find a range of quality traditional market offerings such as fresh produce, butchers, fishmongers, deli, and haberdashery, as well as artisan makers, bakers, creators, and a wonderful array of street food vendors.
Other improvements are focused on streamlining the traffic system in Rawtenstall, redeveloping the site of the existing Bacup Market and creating a new centre for skills provision in Rawtenstall.
Mike Lane, chair of the Levelling Up Board and managing director at local company, We Buy Books, said: “The work to pull the bid together has been a joint effort between the private and public sector to ensure the best outcome for Rossendale. The projects require around £21m in funding and we’re looking for £17m of that to come from the levelling up fund, with Lancashire County Council and Rossendale Council making up the remainder.
“We believe we have put together a strong bid and see this as an opportunity to make a huge difference in Rossendale. It’s exactly what the Levelling Up fund was established to do.”