WORK to prepare a blueprint for the future of Nelson town centre is being widened to include the rest of the town.

The masterplan by consultants Cushman and Wakefield will be developed using funding from the Pendle Brownfield Sites Fund (£20k) and funding secured from the Government’s One Public Estate programme (£30k).

Pendle Council bosses have set up an advisory group to oversee the development of the masterplan and the first meeting of that group took place last month.

Although in the early stages, final approval of the masterplan rests with full council following consideration by the policy and resources committee.

The consultants have been gathering data and reviewing documents and the first public consultation was held on October 29, attended by nearly 80 people.

People were also able to feed in comments through the council's website and social media and over 30 additional comments were received.

The consultants will now be drawing up options for further consultation in the New Year with the aim of having a draft masterplan produced by Spring 2020.

This will support the council's submission of its stage two application for the Future High Streets Fund.

Housing, health and engineering services manager, Julie Whittaker, said: "Initial guidance suggested the fund could contribute up to £25m to individual town centres, but the Government have now said that funding is expected to be in the £5m - £10m range with additional funding provided from other public and private sector sources.

"MHCLG have stressed that they are seeking to fund projects of a transformational nature which will make a fundamental difference to a town centre or high street. Simple ‘beautification’ projects are not something they will support.

"The preparation of the business case will require specialist skills and knowledge.

"Given that there is a strong correlation between the Nelson masterplan and the Future High Streets Fund business case we have asked Cushman and Wakefield provide some additional capacity and expertise to assist with our application.

"In order to develop the town centre masterplan, Cushman and Wakefield have been looking at how the town centre sits within the wider Nelson context.

"It would make sense for the remit of their work to be extended to cover the whole of Nelson rather than have a different consultancy looking at this wider area.

"This would provide economies in time and cost but also enable one set of consultations to take place with residents and other stakeholders in the town.

"As the town centre masterplan is still at an early stage Cushman and Wakefield have indicated that they could take on this extra work without it significantly delaying their current commission."