Over 40 businesses had their say at a get-together on the proposed £9m. redevelopment of the Clitheroe Market site.
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.
The aim of the redevelopment is to bring a new lease of life to the market and surrounding area, and the potential for attracting top new retailers and significant economic development to Clitheroe town centre.
Draft redevelopment proposals attracted a mixed response during an initial public consultation by Barnfield Construction, as a result of which Ribble Valley Borough Council decided to run its own comprehensive engagement programme to ensure all sections of the community could properly have their say.
The engagement programme is being overseen by a cross-party working group chaired by Ribble Valley Borough Council deputy leader Terry Hill, who said: “This scheme constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring modern retail and leisure facilities to Clitheroe town centre.
“It will stimulate investment and growth over the coming years by securing a number of high-quality retail and leisure operators not currently represented in the town.
“However, it has to be right for Clitheroe and the council is undertaking a comprehensive engagement programme prior to detailed plans being brought forward for consideration.
“Traders and businesses are one of several sectors, including schools, community and special interest groups, currently being consulted and their feedback is an important part of the engagement programme.”
Katherine Pritchard, of popular market café Blueberries, said: “It was nice to talk to the architect, who was obviously listening to what we said.
“We all want what is best for Clitheroe and I think working together is going to be the key.”
David Metcalfe, of Ferguson’s Deli, added: “They certainly seemed to listen and we are looking forward to seeing the revised plans.
“We all need to work together constructively for the future of the market, the town centre and local people.”
Other focus groups have included pupils from St Augustine’s RC High School, Bowland High School and Clitheroe Grammar School, as well as the Clitheroe Civic society.
A wide-reaching survey aimed at establishing Clitheroe’s shopping habits and retail requirements is running alongside the focus groups and has attracted hundreds of responses within a fortnight of going live.
Hundreds of people have responded to the survey, which runs until December 23, and households, businesses and visitors who have not yet responded are urged to have their say.
The survey is available online and at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe, as well as Clitheroe and Longridge Libraries. Further details are available at ribblevalley.gov.uk.