Thousands sign petition against market revamp

Say yes to a Premier Market not a Premier Inn sign.
Say yes to a Premier Market not a Premier Inn sign.
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More than 4,000 people have signed two petitions opposing plans for a controversial £9m. redevelopment of Clitheroe Market.

It is believed a petition organised by The Clitheroe Market Steering Group has gathered more than 3,000 signatures while a separate public e-petition on change.org has more than 1,300 supporters.

Artist's impression of Clitheroe Market

Artist's impression of Clitheroe Market

Both are due to be submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council later this month.

Market stallholder Eileen Ansar, who has been trading in Clitheroe for the past three years, fears the market revamp will be detrimental to the character and history of Clitheroe.

She said: “Clitheroe is a beautiful town and the 900-year-old market attracts people from far and wide.

“We need to think carefully about this destruction in the name of development and stop the town from becoming a concrete jungle. If given the go ahead, it will be detrimental to the character of the town.”

Just before Christmas, Clitheroe town centre and market traders took part in a focus group on the proposed scheme as part of the biggest public engagement programme ever undertaken in the borough.

Nelson contractor, investor and developer Barnfield Construction was selected to devise a redevelopment scheme for the 1.4 acre site last year following a rigorous selection process.

Its three-year scheme featuring a 60-bed hotel, retail and leisure units, 56-space car park and revamped market with a hall, 34 cabins and 19 stalls, will see a new lease of life brought to the market and the potential for attracting top new retailers.

In addition, a survey was launched by the council as part of the biggest public engagement programme ever undertaken in the borough.

It aimed to establish Clitheroe’s shopping habits and retail requirements and was backed up by a series of dedicated focus groups with traders, shoppers and schools.

The engagement programme was being overseen by a cross-party working group chaired by Ribble Valley Borough Council deputy leader Terry Hill, who said: “Although the scheme constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring modern retail and leisure facilities to Clitheroe town centre, it has to be right for the town and the council has undertaken a comprehensive engagement programme prior to detailed plans being brought forward for consideration.”

Mrs Ansar added: “The survey was available for people only in Clitheroe, however, we as a steering group, have gathered signatures from visitors who travel from Whalley, Pendle, Blackburn, Preston and beyond who shop at Clitheroe market.”

The results of the public consultation will be published later this month.