MORE than 550 people have signed a petition to try to save three ancient public wells.

The scheme is calling on Ribble Valley Council to acknowledge ownership of the three wells in Clitheroe and it is believed they could attract tourists to the town.

Steve Burke, Secretary for the Clitheroe Town Wells Conservation Campaign Group, said: ''Clitheroe Civic Society and the Wells Conservation Group have jointly researched the history, geology, legal position - and future potential of the town wells.

"The council adopted Stock Well, near to Trinity Methodist Church, following a decision of their Community Committee in 2019.

"We are calling upon Ribble Valley to reconsider its position to refuse to adopt the remaining two Clitheroe Wells on Heild Well in Wellgate and St Marys Well in Well Terrace.

''Once the council has ownership of all three, the Wells Conservation Group will be able to apply for Grant Aid and fundraise to conserve, repair, and better interpret these ancient heritage assets.

"We are also actively planning to put the town’s wells centre stage later this year.

"This as part of a communal celebration as we return to some sort of normality when the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control."

Group organisers are taking inspiration for what could be an annual event is gained from the Derbyshire Peak District village of Tissington.

Their annual Well Dressing Festival consistently attracts 50,000 visitors.

Steven added: "What is good for Tissington would be good for Clitheroe too - local businesses, jobs, tourism, and the whole community.

“The issue of ownership is vital to securing the future of the town wells.

"The Conservation Campaign team is ready and willing to work in partnership with the council to raise the required funds and assist in managing the project work.

"However, without the council taking ownership, it is impossible to secure grant aid or raise significant funds for their conservation and repair.

"Despite the absence of deeds for Stock Well, the council successfully obtained a registered title for it. Heild and St Mary’s wells are in the same position and valid applications can be made for the remaining town wells.

''We believe that there will be no significant additional cost or risk to council tax payers, nor any downside to the Clitheroe and Ribble Valley community whatsoever - in fact the reverse outcome is more likely.

"We are worried that these wells will decline further and decay when they could be used to help promote tourism, increased footfall in Clitheroe town centre and showcase the town’s unique and ancient heritage to the cultural and financial benefit of all involved."

To sign the petition then visit: