WORK has begun on the first shop front restoration as part of a project to improve the area around Accrington town square.

Owners of AYA Accountants on Blackburn Road, Accrington, have become the first to appoint a contractor and start work on site to refurbish the shop front, part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative project.

Council leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson, said: "Accrington’s new Town Square is now open and has already provided a fitting backdrop for a range of successful events.

"These include the events of the opening weekend of November 10-11 and the recent Christmas light switch on and fireworks show, drawing thousands of visitors into the town and confirming that Accrington has so much to offer, past, present and into the future.

Cllr Parkinson added; “Now that the Town Square is complete and looking great, with lots more events planned for 2019, our Townscape Heritage Initiative Team has moved their focus to the Blackburn Road shop restoration projects.

"It’s great news that work on the first property, AYA Accountants, is now getting underway and we want this to be the first of many.

"The THI team are working hard with the other owners in the area who have registered their interest, to help them with their 90 per cent grant applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund and help them progress their schemes through the design and planning stages."

The council’s conservation officer and The Intelligent Design Centre Architects worked closely with the owners of AYA Accountants to ensure the design met their needs and recognised the findings of their historic research.

An exhibition, ‘The Transformation of Accrington, Transforming Our Town: Accrington Through the Years’, is currently showing at the Haworth Art Gallery.

Covering four galleries, it showcases Blackburn Road, the making of the new Town Square from design through to implementation and celebrates our past, present and future.

Cllr Parkinson added; “Take a visit to the Haworth Art Gallery and view our amazing exhibition, with something to interest all ages, it shows the fascinating journey of Accrington’s transformation.”

The exhibition is open during normal Haworth Art Gallery hours until the February 3, 2019.