A GIANT stone man landmark is heading to the cycle track next to the River Irwell in Rossendale.

Stacksteads Countryside Park Group wanted to use natural materials to build a striking piece of public art in memory of those who worked in Rossendale’s quarries.

The idea came from former group member Michael McShea, who saw a sculpture at Whistler, in Canada, and thought about it being replicated in Rossendale.

The idea was first mooted in 2013 and now councillors have given the green light to the plan for land next to the cycleway in Waterfoot.

Jackie Oakes, a member of the Stacksteads Countryside Park Group, said they are were excited about the project.

She said: “We have identified the stonemasons in Ramsbottom who will be doing it but we are being hit by delays due to the coronavirus crisis and we need to wait for the people to put it together, and it will be a few months.

“Lancashire County Council has contributed to the scheme as they want it at the entrance to the cycleway and become a bit of a landmark.

“It is only 2.2m high so it is not going to be that imposing.

“It has been a hard process to get to this stage as we got planning permission for a different location but had to pull out of that and get this location.”

The scheme is at an amenity area owned by the council that is to the south side of Bacup Road (A681) in Stacksteads, approximately 25m west of its junction with the access road leading to Hugh Business Park, Waterfoot.

Access to the amenity area is gained from the newly-created public bridleway which leads to a bridge over the River Irwell and the Grade II-listed railway tunnels .

The memorial will stand approximately 2.2m tall and with an arm-span of 1.45m, and the front elevation would be facing in a north-west direction to be seen from Bacup Road and the new public bridleway.

Permission was previously granted for a similar statue to be erected on the amenity area on Newchurch Road, opposite Beehive Cottages.

The report to councillors said: “The ‘stone man’ would not unduly detract from the amenities any neighbour currently enjoys or could expect to enjoy and would stand more than 30m from the nearest occupied building.”