ROSSENDALE MP Jake Berry has called for ‘definitive action’ over the future of Rawtenstall town centre.

Plans for the former Valley Centre site were unveiled by architects yesterday and today (Sat) at public meetings held at Longholme Methodist Church, in Bacup Road.

Developers and councillors have been meeting residents, business owners and traders to discuss their vision for the site off Bank Street.

Mr Berry said: “What we need here in Rossendale is definitive action, not more of these master plans.

“I’ve spoken to thousands of people from Helmshore to Whitworth, and what we need is New Hall Hey to be filled with shops, a commuter rail link to drive more tourism to our area, and our potholed roads to be repaired.”

But council leader Alyson Barnes has accused the Tory MP of political point-scoring, adding that the plans are ‘too important’ to rush.

Coun Barnes said the first new tenant for the New Hall Hey Business Park, which has been empty since being built in 2007, was in talks with owners of the site.

She said: “It’s really exciting to be unveiling the plans for Rawtenstall town centre.

“We, Labour, took over the council in 2011, six months later we had bought the Valley Centre, and within three months of that, we had demolished it.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve been getting a plan together for Rawtenstall, but have been doing that in two phases.

“We want to make sure that we give people the best opportunity we can to have there say on what the town centre should be like for the next 30 years.

“We’ve even had children at St Mary’s CE Primary School and Alder Grange High School modelling what they would like to see in the town.

In response to the criticism by Mr Berry, Coun Barnes said: “This council has achieved more in two and a half years than the Conservatives did in 20.

“This is too important a project to just get on with, and we will take as much time as we need to get it right for the people of Rawtenstall.”