THE centre of Bacup is set for a major facelift in the next six months as work begins on a £2 million project to improve and preserve prominent buildings.

The first phase of detailed works and the timings of when they will be carried out as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) have just been announced.


The project has vowed to restore the historic character of the town and will install new shop fronts in a more sympathetic design using authentic materials.

Work will start this month on the the shop front replacement on the Pioneer Building and arcade and will be completed by November 6.

Work will also commence on the Clock Tower and the fascias in November, but the roof repairs will not now start until January 4.

Built as a Co-operative store in 1914, the building is thought to take its name from a liaison with the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, where the movement began.

It is now home to the Conservative Club, at a first floor level.

At the same time improvements to the RSPCA building at St James Street will begin on October 25.

The work will be done in reverse order, starting with the roof repairs and finishing with the replacement shop front on January 25.

The entire first phase aims to be completed by February 26 and will be carried out over a 16-week period in total.

The THI board is currently looking at bringing the Real Building 6-8 St James Square and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank forward as the second phase runs over a 16-week period starting on February 29.

He said: “The THI board are adamant that the quality of the public realm scheme for Bacup will be of the highest standard.

“There have been delays while discussions with the county council are ongoing to put this in the future budget for LCC Highways development.

“They are also negotiating with the Heritage Lottery Fund to establish the possibility of using Chinese granite as an acceptable paving material as opposed to Yorkshire stone.

“Once negotiations are complete, moves can be made to establish a final cost, design and schedule for the scheme that will then go out for further consultation in Bacup with a view to agreeing a start and end date for the scheme.”