Longridge gardens restoration bid to boost tourism

The Entrance to Clitheroe Town Hall
The Entrance to Clitheroe Town Hall

A new-look Towneley Gardens aimed at boosting Longridge’s centre and its tourism appeal has been given a borough thumbs-up.

Longridge Community Partnership’s (LCP) project to regenerate Towneley Gardens and bowling green gained Ribble Valley community committee’s approval in principle for the borough-owned land at its January meeting.

Also approved was a funding bid to Tesco’s local community grants scheme, an application for £8,000 now having been submitted by LCP which is also researching for match funding for the project.

The borough decision was welcomed by LCP chairman, mayor Coun Sarah Rainford and project author, community gym manager Angela Harrison, who added that a public consultation would be held to get local views.

In her report, she explains the project’s aim is to make the gardens ‘inclusive and available to all.’

The first in what will be three stages of regeneration is the renewal of the historic black iron railings, taken for the war effort in 1939, their restoration being a priority.

In this stage also is provision of a measured mile to encourage walking, replace seating including some for children, provide family tables, historical information and signpost the Old Station and Heritage Centre.

The second stage would see the regeneration of the band stand area with shelter for outdoor activities such as tai-chi, concerts, art activities, and also available for community events, schools, nurseries, service providers and volunteer opportunities.

An essential component of the third stage, Angela Harrison explains, is improved biodiversity.

They aim to expand varieties of plant and tree life, creating a bee apiary as a community project to help sustain the environment.

Geobaches could also be developed to encourage families to be more active and learn about the local environment.

Currently, Towneley Gardens are used primarily as a throughway, not to their full potentional as a beautiful community historical open space and as gardens to enjoy, listen to the band and relax in.

The report adds: “The proposed project is also decorative, appealing, attractive, functional, educational and historical.

“It encourages sustainable transport and a healthy lifestyle, provides opportunities for volunteers, engages with other community groups, service, providers, businesses and is free and accessible all year.”

The project was first identified by members of the community, discussed in October by the town council, and next steps will include the Tesco funding decision, the public consultation and a development and timeline workshop