A COUNCIL has been invited by the government to make a second bid for up to £25million to transform its main town centre - with special support from Whitehall.

In March Hyndburn borough made and unsuccessful attempt to get Accrington included in a list of 101 locations entitled to a share of £1billion from the Future High Street Fund.

Now local government secretary Robert Jenrick has approached the council to make a new submission for the grant cash and promised expert tailored support to produce a regeneration blueprint for the town centre.

Accrington is one of 14 places nationwide to be offered the advice from a new High Streets Task Force to work up bids for consideration in the final share out next year.

The news has been welcomed by Hyndburn Council's Labour leader Cllr Miles Parkinson and its new Conservative MP Cllr Sara Britcliffe.

The 14 locations will act as 'pilot schemes' for the Future High Streets Funds final projects. Nelson and Bacup are on the initial list of 101 eligible town centres.

Hyndburn council has already invested millions in the redevelopment of Accrington Town Square and renovating its historic Town Hall.

Mr Jenrick said: "Having announced the first 101 high streets that can benefit from £25 million each back in the summer, I am announcing support from our new High Streets Task Force for a further 14 places. The Task Force will provide the tools they need to get the best advice possible."

The Task Force brings together a range of expert groups on reinventing and restructuring places, including the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Institute for Place Management and The Design Council.

Cllr Parkinson said: "We made an unsuccessful bid in March and were approached by the government about this just before Christmas. Hyndburn Council is glad to take part in this.

"We will work closely with the task force and our new MP to work up a plan to revive Accrington town centre."

Cllr Britcliffe said: "This is good news. One of the focuses of my election campaign was the future of Hyndburn's town centres.

"I will work closely with the council and the task force to try and get Accrington £25million to regenerate its town centre."

Northern Powerhouse minister and Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said: "Every place has its own unique strengths and challenges but all our town centres and high streets have one thing in common – they are the lifeblood of communities."