One of the biggest potential developments in Clitheroe in years is set to be determined by councillors later this month.
Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Policy and Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 27th, to discuss the controversial £9m. project to breathe new life into the tired Clitheroe Market.
Since first being revealed, the proposed scheme has met with opposition from traders on the historic market, as well as people who live in and around the town. Nelson-based 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.
However, its three-year plan featuring a 60-bed hotel, retail and leisure units, 56-space car park and revamped market with a hall, 34 cabins and 19 stalls, was criticized by local traders, existing market stallholders and Ribble Valley residents – resulting in the project being delayed in order to create the best town centre possible.
Just before Christmas, Clitheroe town centre and market traders took part in a focus group on the proposed multi-million pound scheme as part of the biggest public engagement programme ever undertaken in the borough.
Now, council officials have pledged to press ahead with the ambitious town centre regeneration plan, admitting its “a priority”.
Coun. Ken Hind, the leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “We are going to build something that will protect Clitheroe as a market town and create a legacy that we can be proud of in the future.
“A decision on the market is a priority for us. The scheme is not only about the market, but the area around it. We have to consider parking for customers and the independent businesses around and how they are going to fit into it. No one is trying to slow the whole project down.
“In fact, if anything, we want to make progress as soon as possible.”
Coun. Hind revealed he is in the process of establishing a borough council economic development committee, which will oversee major projects in and around the Ribble Valley. The Market Working Group, which has been visiting markets across the region for ideas, will report to the economic development committee.”
He added: “There is no question of delay we are trying to get an agreement on a plan for the market which in any event it will have to ratified at full council.
“On Tuesday, there was a meeting of the Market Working Group following their visit to other markets in the region. There will be then meetings of the political groups on the council to consider their position and discussions with Barnfield. We hope to be in a position to progress with the development on June 27th.”
If it is all voted through, a formal planning application could be published by the end of the year.