THE controversial £20m re-development of Rawtenstall town centre has stalled while talks are held to ensure the town’s heritage is maintained.

The new plans for the bus station and the redevelopment of the town centre as a whole were put forward by the Rossendale Together Barnfield Partnership.


It would mean the demolition of the old Town Hall, a move challenged by groups such as Historic England, who said the development would cause “unjustified and unnecessary harm to the conservation area.”

Other conservation groups have opposed the plans, including the Victorian Society and Rossendale Civic Trust.

Work was due to begin in August but is now expected to commence early next year.

The council maintains the development would create strong transport links, new jobs, new businesses and a visitor destination that will benefit the borough as a whole.

A Rossendale Council spokesman said: “The RTB Partnership is currently in discussion with Historic England, and have set up a meeting this month to look at how they can address some of the concerns raised by them and other groups.

“This will enable the partnership to take account of the concerns over the plans the RTB Partnership have put forward.

“The partnership is committed to delivering a scheme that takes on board all representations received to deliver the most appropriate proposal.”

Valley MP Jake Berry welcomed the council’s announcement that it will re-consult on the plans.

Mr Berry, said: “I’m pleased that the council have put their plans for the new bus station on hold after widespread concern.

“Any plans for Rawtenstall must be in keeping with the rest of Bank Street.

“It’s important everyone gets involved in this new consultation so we can make sure we get the right result.”

A protest group aiming to preserve Rawtenstall’s old town hall, which dates back to 1875, has attracted hundreds of supporters.

The Friends of Rawtenstall want to see a “more sympathetic” design for the bus station.

The town hall has been vacant since 2005.

Council bosses say the cost of refurbishing the old town hall, which has suffered fire and water damage, would be about £2.19 million.

The building, given a nominal value of £80,000, was transferred to developers in March.