WORK has begun on an ambitious £2 million regeneration effort which will transform the historic heart of Bacup – and building owners are being given the chance to preserve their own landmarks for years to come.

Phase one of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) project will see The Pioneer Building and 33 St James Street, home to the RSPCA store, restored to their former glory.


Not only will the Pioneer clock be repaired to provide a public timepiece but the traditional shopfront for the RSPCA premises, at the corner of Union Street, will be reinstated.

A series of workshops is being held to give professionals and keen amateurs the inside view on how they can ensure the rewards paid for by the THI are felt for years to come.

Diane Van Ruitenbeek. the THI board’s vice chairman, said: “It’s really good to see work start on the THI programme.

“The board is committed to making the scheme a success and the project team will be working closely with building owners and businesses to ensure the work programme runs as smoothly as possible.”

Next week a conservation, repair and maintenance course for stonework will be held on Wednesday to hammer home the principles of traditional building methods and materials.

And plans are in place, on June 10, for those with similar passions, to learn all about lime pointing, including the correct tools to deploy and mortars to use.

Theory has been pencilled in for the morning session and hands-on practical experience will be the theme after lunch.

Stephen Jackson, the borough council’s regeneration head, added: “Bacup is a fantastic town with strong heritage assets for the Valley that we are keen to preserve.

“The THI project is enabling this.”

Twenty-two premises are set to benefit ultimately from the investment, provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with new arrangements for St James Square envisaged as a centrepiece for the scheme.

The Pioneer building, which is now 101 years old and also occupied by the Conservative Club, will have shop frontages replaced at the ground floor level and windows replaced on the first floor.