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Campaigners in bid to save Bacup landmarks for future generations
CAMPAIGNING groups have launched twin bids to preserve two of Bacup’s landmarks and protect them as ‘assets’ for future generations.
Senior councillors are being asked tomorrow to safeguard the town’s old market hall and the ex-Conservative Club, on St James’ Terrace by the Rochdale-based charity Community Assets Standing Tall (CAST).
Supporters of CAST insist the market hall could be transformed into a smaller version of Halifax’s Piece Hall.
That houses a range of independent firms and studios.
Charity officials claim that they are hopeful of securing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for such a venture. Under new government regulations, interested parties can apply to have significant buildings listed as ‘assets of community value’. Legislation has been used to protect at-risk churches and also pubs.
A CAST spokesman said: “We believe that the space lends itself to being of community value as a venue which could provide exhibition performance space, small business units and also training and enterprise activity.”
In an executive report, councillors have been told that the old market hall was considered for residential conversion, much like the work which is being carried out on the neighbouring former police station.
But the property, on Bank Street, which dates back to 1867, has been placed back up for auction this month, having only been acquired for possible development in 2012.
The Conservative Club moved from its 1892 St James Terrace home to the nearby Pioneer Buildings two years ago. After the move the former building traded as ‘The Owd Conservative Club’ for a short time but it is now said to be in the hands of receivers.
CAST officials believe the old club could be converted into a community resource or social enterprise centre.
If the locations are designated as ‘community assets’ then organisations such as CAST have six months to prepare their viable plans for the buildings, under a ‘right to bid’ regime.
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