£9m plan will ‘destroy’ Clitheroe’s historic market

An artist's impression of the �9m. redevelopment planned for Clitheroe market. (s)
An artist's impression of the �9m. redevelopment planned for Clitheroe market. (s)

Disgruntled residents have voiced their concerns at the unveiling of plans for the £9m. redevelopment of Clitheroe’s 900-year-old market.

The scheme, for which a formal planning application is yet to be submitted, features a 60-bed hotel, retail and leisure units, a 56-space car park plus a revamped market with a hall, 34 cabins and 19 stalls.

Ribble Valley Borough Council is confident the proposals will give the area a new lease of life and attract new

retailers. However, one concerned trader said the plans would destroy the market’s traditional character. He added that the popular market should be retained in its current open air format rather than the indoor market proposed.

Others who attended the unveiling complained about a loss of car parking spaces while Clitheronian Pauline Wood said the new 60-bed hotel planned for the development will kill off trade for any businesses already providing accommodation in the town. Pauline added she could see no trace of the old market or its history included in the scheme.

The ambitious plans, including artist’s impressions and models, were presented to members of the public as part of a consultation exercise through which Nelson contractor, investor and developer Barnfield Construction seek to take residents’ views on board prior to submitting a formal planning application to RVBC.

The council awarded the contract to Barnfield Construction to develop the 1.4 acre site late last year.

And work on their three-year scheme could start as early as next spring subject to planning approval being granted.

Hundreds of people viewed the plans at RVBC Chamber on Friday and Saturday questioning representatives who were on hand from Barnfield, DAY Architects, NJL Planning Consultants and Ribble Valley Borough Council.

David Ogden, director at DAY architects, explained how, in Phase One of the development, the current market would be relocated to a state-of-art two storey indoor market which will be built on the current market car park. The first floor of this modern building will also be accessible from the pathway at the back of the Rose and Crown.

This scheme constitutes one of the biggest ever private sector investments in Clitheroe town centre and interest has been so high we are opening the exhibition late on two nights next week

Coun. Hirst

“This will provide a natural link with the town centre and encourage people to walk up to Castle Street,” he said.

There will be stairwells and a lift to the first floor around which there is a galleried landing. Panels in the centre of the roof will flood the building with light.

The public 56-space car park will be relocated to the current market site and be accessed off Station Road. It will remain an open air car park.

Dan Symonds, head of development at Barnfield Construction, said any comments made at the public consultation will be taken on board and he hoped a formal planning application could be submitted to RVBC’s plannng department by September.

It is hoped big name national retailers alongside local retailers can be attracted to the new development.

Unable to reveal specific retailers who have shown an interest, Dan added: “We are talking to a number of national retailers and leisure operators plus a hotel operator.”

Both Blueberries cafe, formerly Jimmy Clitheroe’s, and a building used by NHS outpatients located at the New Market Street entrance to the market will both be demolished as part of Phase Two of the redevelopment scheme. A 60-bed hotel, retail and leisure units, plus the car park are planned for this part of the site, with work due to be completed by the summer of 2019.

Joint proprietors of Blueberries cafe, Julie Coy and Kath Robbins, told the Clitheroe Advertiser they are looking forward to hearing more details about the scheme which would see their popular cafe relocate into the new revamped two-storey market building.

“We want it to work and be successful,” said Julie. “There is lots for us still to talk about, but we think it will be good for the future of the town.”

As part of Phase Two of the scheme the section of New Market Street which is at the front of Blueberries will also be widened.

Interest in the scheme has been so high the exhibition is to open late on Tuesday and Thursday.

Ribble Valley Borough Council’s head of housing and regeneration, Colin Hirst, said: “Hundreds of people have been to see the plans and feedback has been largely constructive and positive, particularly from young families. Some concerns have been expressed, which the developer will certainly take into consideration.

“This scheme constitutes one of the biggest ever private sector investments in Clitheroe town centre and interest has been so high we are opening the exhibition late on two nights next week.”

The plans and artists’ impressions will be displayed in the Level C reception at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe, until Friday, August 5th. The council offices are open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, but the Level C reception will remain open until 7 pm on Tuesday and Thursday.