BACUP’S Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, the Pioneer Buildings, the REAL Building, and St James’ Square roundabout are at the top of the council’s list for improvements, it has been announced.

Shops numbered 3 - 33 in the square are also considered as priorities for works to be financed following a successful bid for £2million of Heritage Lottery Fund cash.

However, in order for the frontages to receive the improvements, the council need the owners of the buildings to agree to put up 10 per cent of the money of each individual project, with the grant paying for the rest.

David Presto, economic development manager at Rossendale Council, said: “We have drawn up a critical, priority, and reserve list of buildings for the funds.

“If landlords come forward and sign up then their improvements will go forward.

“We’ve got a design specification in terms of a conservation standard and a detailed specification of what we are expecting from our partner, Barnfield Construction.

“We’ve told them we are expecting a high quality approach.

“A surveyor and architect will price up the work on behalf of the owner, and we will approach the owner with our suggestions. This will cost the owner nothing.

“Then all they have to do is agree to pay 10 per cent and we will do the rest.

“Because it’s in the conservation area, it’s about restoring the architectural features of the building while keeping their unique, often Tudor, design.”

The council is planning to carry out the works in blocks of four or five, to avoid excessive disruption.

Internal works can be carried out on empty buildings, but the project will mainly focus on frontages.

The council is also looking at pedestrianising St James’ Square.

Mr Presto said: “We’re looking at changing the layout of the roundabout.

“At the moment, it’s very difficult to tell whose right of way it is, and we’d like to change that.

“We’d also like to carry out public realm improvements, by putting in benches and greenery.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund won’t finance that, but we would like to do it.”

Any property owners in St James’ Square who are interested in preliminary discussions with the council, should call Mr Presto on 01706 252477.