BACKERS of a new bid for £1.5 million of lottery cash to give a historic row of shops in Accrington a major facelift believe it is time the town got the same generous treatment as Blackburn and Burnley.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and council deputy leader Clare Pritchard want heritage lottery bosses to realise that their borough’s history needs the same protection as its bigger neighbours.
They and council chief executive David Welsby were ‘gutted’ when the fund rejected their 2011 bid for £1.5 million to support the £2 million restoration of Blackburn Road and Church Street in Accrington.
Now a second application for the cash stresses how it will help bring the conservation area and shopping centre of the town back to the architectural glory of its 19th and early 20th century heyday.
In a letter, Mr Welsby tells Heritage Lottery Fund chiefs the scheme would enhance the listed Town and Market Halls but also commemorate the First World War Accrington Pals volunteer regiment decimated in the 1916 Battle of the Somme.
He adds that a lottery grant and the £500,000 the council is ready to invest would complete a ‘high quality’ public shopping area.
Mr Jones said: “ The people of Hyndburn contribute to the national lottery and unfortunately the borough seems to be losing out in lottery grants.
“I am delighted that both Burnley for the Weaver s Triangle and Blackburn for the restoration of Corporation Park won bids of £2 million or more, but I will be telling lottery bosses that it is time Accrington got its fair share.”
Coun Pritchard said: “I was very, very disappointed when out last bid was turned town. East Lancashire does badly from lottery grants and Accrington has done particularly badly compared to Blackburn and Burnley. It is time Hyndburn and its lottery players got the grant cash they deserve.”
In 1999, Hyndburn civic leaders met lottery bosses to complain about the borough’s poor treatment. In 2008 figures revealed in Parliament showed that Burnley got £2,6 million in lottery grants and Blackburn £1.5 million and Hyndburn just £645,000.
Whilst Hyndburn’s big lottery bids have all failed Blackburn got £2.75 million in 2003 for the restoration of Corporation Park and Burnley £2 million 2008 for the refurbishment of the Weavers Triangle.