A celebration event was held to mark the end of a project to restore and repurpose under-used buildings in Bacup.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone saw £1.1million from Historic England invested in the town and one of the beneficiaries was the ABD Centre on Burnley Road, the first building to receive a grant from the four-year project.

The funding led to the exterior being upgraded with replacement sash windows and a new and more welcoming entrance from Harcourt Street. The centre’s main hall was used for the event with display boards showing before and after photos of the 14 buildings to benefit.

Pierre Grace owns a building on Market Street which houses The Room, a beauty salon, downstairs and two two-bedroom upstairs flats.

He said: “Without the grant, we would have been struggling to afford the work that needed doing.

“The grant enabled us to kickstart doing the windows in the upstairs. It gave me the confidence to invest our own money into the building.

“We fitted new windows to what is now The Room which is a beautiful retail space offering lots of beauty treatments and training.

“The flats now have a really stunning space where the lounge has a spectacular new window.

“It is good that we also had to add to the grant as it shows we are also personally invested in the property.”

He praised the partnership that was established between the council, the architects and the owners and said it had created a community of businesses and landlords.

Laura Lancashire helped with the This Here Festivals, organised by Bacup Cultural Consortium, which was also funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme alongside the HSHAZ work.

She said: “I have seen changes over the past two years but have hardly been to the town since, but the first thing I noticed when I got off the bus was the changes on Market Street which really make the town look a lot better.

“It is a beautiful town, with beautiful buildings, it is just a shame some have been left to deteriorate. It is a shame this money had not come into Bacup many years ago when they could all have been saved.”

BCC has now received additional Arts Council money to continue the festival.

Scott Hartley, from Rawtenstall, said: “Bacup should now become a destination town and you need something for people passing through to make them stop. There should be campsites so people have places to stay.”

Stephen Anderson is Chair of Valley Heritage, Director of Buttress Architects who took on the design work for the HSHAZ and a Bacup resident. He said: “From all three of those perspectives, this had been exactly the right thing that the town needed coming after the work of the Townscape Heritage Initiative.

“It built on the successes of that work and seems to have been the real catalyst for the development of the town.”

As part of the celebration, a historic bus provided free travel from the Railhead at Rawtenstall to Irwell Terrace and the Extraordinary Victorians provided entertainment on the Market and Irwell Terrace on Saturday.