COUNCILLORS have questioned at a full council meeting when investment might be heading to one of East Lancs' smaller town centres.

Regeneration queries were raised over the state of Waterfoot, in particular the town's main arcade, with a former chapel and a chip shop also getting a mention.

Conservative Cllr Jenny Rigby said: “Are there any updates on plans regarding Waterfoot town centre, following a report back in August?”

She said buildings of interest included the arcade at Waterfoot. She asked if any council conversations had been held with the arcade owner.

Rossendale borough leader, Labour's Cllr Alyson Barnes said: “We are waiting for a government update. We submitted a UK Shared Prosperity (UKSP) bid in August.

"We were told to expect a quick turnaround but have not heard anything. Until we get that commitment from the government, we cannot decide.”

The UKSP fund is a new government programme replacing the old EU Regional Development Fund after Brexit. Rossendale Council has submitted a bid to the scheme.

Cllr Barnes told Cllr Rigby: "Perhaps you can use your link to the government and our MP to get a timely response?”

Regarding the Waterfoot arcade, Cllr Barnes understood some conversations had been held with the owner but had no new update.

Last March the former Waterbarn Baptist Church building in Stacksteads was hit by a blaze. Other fires have happened at a derelict church in Alma Street, Bacup, and Millgate Chapel in Shawforth over the past two years.

Tory councillor Caroline Snowden said: “Some buildings are being left in a poor state from fires. What can be done to deal with this?”

Cllr Jackie Oakes, deputy leader, said: “We have all got dilapidated buildings in our wards. It is a problem. The Broadway chip shop is now under new ownership, I understand. On some other matters, the council’s economic development team deals and organisations such as Historic England would look at buildings which have fallen into disrepair.”

Haslingden could not be included in the recent Levelling-Up Fund bid because the criteria is based on Westminster parliamentary constituency boundaries and the town comes under the neighbouring Hyndburn constituency.

But part of Haslingden is currently subject to National Lottery Heritage Funding for the Big Lamp area of the town centre.

Rossendale Council is also waiting for a government decision on a £ 17.9m levelling up funding for Bacup and Rawtenstall town centres.