Councillors remain divided over multi-million plans to redevelop Clitheroe’s historic market.
The majority of councillors who gathered at Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Policy and Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday insist more time is required to make a decision over what the site should feature.
Just before Christmas, Clitheroe town centre and market traders took part in a focus group on the proposed £9m. scheme as part of the biggest public engagement programme ever undertaken inthe 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, has been criticised by local traders, existing market stallholders and Ribble Valley residents.
The engagement programme was being overseen by a cross-party working group chaired by Ribble Valley Borough Council’s deputy leader Terry Hill.
He 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 that’s why the council undertook a comprehensive engagement programme prior to detailed plans being brought forward for consideration.”
Speaking after the meeting on Tuesday, Coun. Hill, who is chairman of the working group, said: “Without doubt the consultation has generated significant interest.
“Yes, we had varied responses to the consultation, but as a committee, we cannot reach a decision and need more time to conclude comprehensively and unanimously in order to agree on a vibrant scheme for the town.
“According to the results of the survey, car parking has been viewed as a major issue and any hotel needs have to be justified.
“There is also the possibility of a health centre at the site, but that option needs to be explored further with NHS officials.
“I can say at this stage that the redevelopment plan will be in keeping with the town’s tradition, character, individuality and quirkness and the market will have some element of cover. We want something to be really proud of.”
Councillors have until Tuesday, June 6th, to reach a final decision