The first phase of a vibrant £3 million transformation of Haslingden town centre – The Big Lamp project – is nearing completion and the second phase will be underway early next year.

The scheme is financed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund with support from Rossendale Borough Council and private property owners and is aimed at renovating shop fronts and pedestrian ways.

Phase One has seen restorative work in Deardengate and the renovation has respected its heritage. Phase Two will involve more properties in Higher Deardengate.

A Rossendale Council spokesperson said: “We looked at historic photographs of the street scene and we saw that these two buildings had been built identically but over time had changed dramatically.

“The renovation has tried to bring them back together as a pair but keeping their unique signage.

“We have employed a heritage construction company who use all of the traditional skills, timbers and other materials to ensure that the buildings’ heritage is honoured.”

The project was called ‘The Big Lamp’ because the area surrounds a street lamp that has become a focal point of the town centre and it also signifies how the scheme is shining a light on Haslingden’s heritage.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund will contribute £2.5m to the project while Rossendale Borough Council has allocated £200,000 and private property owners will provide £300,000.

For work on a property the owner pays 25 per cent of the costs and the rest is covered by the Heritage Fund and the council.

Helen Featherstone, The National Lottery Heritage Fund North England director said: “It is exciting to know that by working with the local community, this project will breathe new life and footfall into Haslingden, connect a wider range of people to heritage and boost the local economy.”

Apart from restoring the front elevation of shops the project also includes refurbishing the area around ‘The Big Lamp’ providing an activity area, similar to a town square, which was one aspect called for during early consultation meetings with residents and traders.

The council spokesperson said: “The uneven cobbles in the events square will be replaced with safer and more attractive clay paving whose colours will be chosen to complement the buildings.

“It will be an area where there will be good parking facilities in the designated car parks nearby and which will be available for sitting out, holding small artisan markets, outdoor theatres and that kind of thing.

“The pavements will be widened on Higher Deardengate and the road will be one-way along Manchester Road up to Bank Street. The number 11 bus will be slightly re-routed because of the new road layout.

“We will be introducing more planted out areas, including rain gardens which will help with the drainage, nature alleys along the ginnels off Higher Deardengate, tree planting, sensory and herb gardens, benches and heritage plaques.

“A lot of the garden-style features are to be maintained with the help of Civic Pride Rossendale and hopefully a local garden centre.”

To help bolster the scheme’s success the council is holding a business owners’ consultation meeting on Wednesday, November 8, at Haslingden Library between 9.30am and 11.30am, and drop in sessions for the general public at the library on Tuesday, November 14 (4.30pm to 7pm) and Friday, November 24 (12pm to 2.30pm).