DOES anyone know what’s happening up at Darwen Tower?

Six months ago the Council and local councillors were very buoyant about work starting on an ambitious renovation programme after a two-month delay because – surprise, surprise! – birds were discovered nesting in the area.

Having got over that shock, the council, backed by a large government grant, awarded a contract for the work. Everyone reckoned it would have had to be completed by September when the weather would be turning. Lime pointing, for example, doesn’t go down too well with frosty mornings and icy winds. Still, six months was plenty, everyone reckoned.

We are now close to winter and the scaffolding and sheeting are still up. Presumably builders are beavering away behind it all. I do hope so.

Some stonework had cracked and might have needed replacing. Drainage was a problem and the heavy stone steps round the base needed resetting.

The insertion of a new concrete and stone “biscuit” to hold the base of the top viewing platform will have been particularly difficult. I hope they have avoided stainless steel.

The crumbling interior walls wanted a lot of remedial work, the foundations probably needed strengthening; pointing, cleaning and protection will have been on the to-do list. Most of the windows needed replacing. I have offered a collection of strong cut-to-size Perspex – a gift from the company – but haven’t had the offer of it taken up.

The approach road from Bold Venture has been improved. I hope they crunch it up afterwards to deter yobs in bangers.

The work is being paid for with £225,000 from the Darwen Town Deal and £70,000 from local fundraising, led in recent years by Darwen Rotary. BwD Council has promised a few grand.

Oh, and here, finally, is yet another plea for inexpensive, solar-powered LED lighting. It would look great and would be seen for miles! Peel Tower at Holcombe has been lit for years.


Last chairman of the Friends of Darwen Tower