ONE former bank is set to aid the regeneration efforts of an East Lancashire town – even if the major high street financial institutions appear to have abandoned it.

The fourth major location for regeneration under Bacup’s Townscape Heritage Initiative will be the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in Market Street.


Just this year alone, within 50 yards, Nat West and Barclays have both shut branches, leaving customers to travel to either Rawtenstall or Burnley for face-to-face enquiries.

The old bank, which dates back to 1867, has been the subject of a number of improvement bids in recent years, with attempts made to convert it into flats and part of the ground floor trading briefly as a giftware shop.

Work started first on the Pioneer Building, in Rochdale Road, through the scheme, which will see the original shopfronts restored and engineering taking place to revive the clock tower and provide a public timepiece and focal point for the THI initiative.

Council partners Barnfield have moved on to begin refurbishing St James Street, kicking off with the RSPCA shop at the corner of Union Street.

Council leader Cllr Alyson Barnes said, as work began: “It will be a great benefit to Bacup and shows that we are committed to preserving and maintaining the heritage features of the valley.”

More controversial, though, may be proposals to establish a one-way system along Union Street.

One trader said: “That road is a nightmare in winter with black ice and they want to make it one way? It will never work.”

Another target is the former REAL building in St James Square, with efforts set to be made to restore a number of the original Art Deco features.