PLANS for Rawtenstall’s new bus station have been criticised by civic campaigners before they’ve officially been published.

Proposals for the £3.5million project, which also includes shops and offices on the site of the now-demolished Valley Centre, have divided the town.


Council leader Councillor Alyson Barnes stated that revised plans for the scheme, following public consultation, are still in the pipeline, which would see part of the old town hall preserved.

The suggestion, on land also incorporating the former police station off Kay Street, has already met with criticism from the Friends of Rawtenstall group.

Peter Wood, chairman of the friends’ group, said: “Rossendale Council need to stop the Rossendale Together Barnfield partnership and start a proper and worthwhile consultation.Once again this RTB partnership and Rossendale Council have refused to listen and are still trying to destroy our heritage.

“Rawtenstall, like Bacup, is a Heritage Lottery Fund priority area and could and should be seeking millions in heritage funding. But how can that be done when they are still trying to cause significant harm to our conservation area?

“Instead of trying to force through these tweaked plans that have been widely condemned, Rossendale Council need to stop the RTB partnership and start a proper and worthwhile consultation.

“Once that starts, we can ask people what they want to see in the town, what ideas and aspirations they have and how they would like to see Rawtenstall regenerated.’’ Cllr Barnes said: “In response to the previous consultation exercise, which raised concerns about the loss of the old town hall, the proposal is now to maintain the oldest part of the building, looking at possible residential/retail uses for the building.

“The bus station will still form part of the plan but this has been moved forward and scaled down slightly.”

Fresh consultations have been pledged over the overhauled scheme.

Cllr Darryl Smith, Conservative opposition leader, said: “It’s only since the last elections, when we secured more seats on the council and I got a place on the RTB board, that the council has started to listen to people again.”