A MAJOR demolition scheme is set to get underway next week to finally rid a town centre of an eyesore shopping centre.

Hoardings are due to placed around the Valley Centre in Rawtenstall to protect surrounding buildings as work commences on Monday.

It is expected to take contractors Howard Stott Demolition a week to put up.

The next stage of the project will include removing asbestos from the site before actual demolition begins at the end of the month.

As of Monday the site will be completely closed to ensure the safety of the public.

However, businesses around the site will be open as usual.

Rossendale Council leader, Coun Alyson Barnes said: “This is when people will start to get really excited about the development in the area.

"It’s the first time we’ll be able to notice a physical change in the town centre and for many it will suddenly be very real.

“We’ve worked extremely hard to be able to get to this stage and the passion behind the project has proven we’ve made the right decision for the people of Rossendale.”

North Street will also be closed from Monday but a diversion will run through Lord Street.

Shoppers using bus stops in Bank Street are also warned these will close on February 13 until the end of the demolition work.

David Gould, President of Rawtenstall Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have been waiting for this to happen for such a long time, so are delighted that the project is about to begin.

"There will be some unavoidable disruption in the town centre once the works are underway, but we are working with the council to ensure this is kept to a minimum and know the result will benefit local business immensely.”

An interim plan for the site is to create a public space for live events and markets.