Clitheroe is regarded by many as the jewel in the Ribble Valley crown.

Last month, the area was once again named in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, thanks to its “glorious countryside, excellent schools, community-minded locals and a wall-deserved gourmet reputation”.

It also praised its ‘local produce and stellar roster of gastropubs’.

But Clitheroe isn’t a town resting on its laurels.

A £600,000 revamp of Castle Street is due to start this month, bringing three weeks of traffic disruption with it.

Joint work by Lancashire County Council and Ribble Valley Council is expected run to the end of July.

The councils say Castle Street will benefit greatly from the work, which will enhance its appearance and accessibility.

The project will include narrowing and reconstruction of the road surface, widening of pavements, new signs, parking and loading restrictions, benches, bollards and other street furniture.

And quality materials will be used, the councils say.

Elsewhere, Ribble Valley Council has plans for Clitheroe Castle repairs and improvements to the grounds. Events could be held on the grounds in future.

Is it money well spent, or is Clitheroe a beautiful town with little need to change?

Despite its reputation, some have described the town centre as tired – and in urgent need of overdue attention.

On a visit to Clitheroe town centre, the Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to mother and daughter Tina and Rae Sagar. The pair were visiting from Burnley.

Tina said she visits Clitheroe occasionally and has done so since being a young child.

She said: “We’ve come today  just for a social day out – a nice meal and a drink at Holmes Mill.  I think Clitheroe’s a beautiful little town. The shops are lovely and everyone is friendly. It’s got a nice atmosphere. We’ve been having a look in the wedding shops.

“I’m not sure that the town centre needs much work doing to it. I wouldn’t change anything unless it really needs doing. Perhaps the market needs a bit of attention? I think the market has gone downhill. But that’s the case with a lot of traditional markets everywhere.”

Regarding Clitheroe castle and grounds, she added:  “I’ve been to the castle a few times over the years since being young. I’d definitely be interested in events there, like music festivals.”

Rae said: “I like visiting Bury or Manchester for an afternoon or a day-out.  There’s lots of shops and plenty to do. I’ve got young kids and there are things for them to do there. I don’t know what Clitheroe has got to offer for kids? By the look of it, there doesn’t seem to be much for them.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Clitheroe Castle Street area. Pic: Robbie Macdonald LDRS. Partner approved.


Teachers Abi Hewson and Kate Cavanagh were enjoying the Easter holiday break.

Abi lives just outside Clitheroe and is originally from Burnley.

She said: “The potholes on many roads in Clitheroe are awful. I don’t drive much on Castle Street itself but a lot of the roads leading into the town centre are in a terrible state. ”

Speaking more generally about town centres, she said: “I think people visit Whalley more for a night-out these days. A lot of money has been spent there and it gets the crowds.

“The Holmes Mill development in Clitheroe has really added some good things.  If we had more things like that, it would be better. But the old town centre is dead after 9pm. Also quite a few shops don’t open on Sundays. I find that a bit bizarre.”

Kate, who is from Clitheroe, said: “I think spending money on Clitheroe town centre is a good thing. I’ve lived here all my life. The pavements are too narrow. and there’s not much space for people in some stretches of Castle Street. It’s not great.

“A lot of people come here for days-out, in the same way that we might go to Skipton, Harrogate or Manchester for a visit. But I’m not sure that some of the shops in Clitheroe currently are adding much to the community. Clitheroe needs a better class of shops and other attractions. It has been overtaken by Whalley for socialising. Today, Whalley has more to offer.

“Having said that, I think the Grand Theatre in Clitheroe does loads of good things, such as music gigs and school events. It’s really popular.  So there are good things here too.

“I think events on the Castle grounds would be good. But they’d have to think about car parking. A lot of car parks are quite small. There isn’t enough parking.

"Clitheroe has grown with housing and will grow more in future. But it needs the infrastructure like car parks, schools and doctors’ surgeries.  It can feel like a squeeze sometimes.  So I think these street works will be worthwhile.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Clitheroe Castle Street area. Pic: Robbie Macdonald LDRS. Partner approved.


Gale and Eddie Pearson were visiting from Padiham.

Gale said: “I come to Clitheroe for shopping and browsing about once a month. It’s an interesting old town but I understand that places need upgrading. The roads need a bit of improvement. And the town centre can get a bit congested if it’s busy.

“We like market towns such as Barnard Castle in County Durham and Richmond in North Yorkshire. We do a bit of walking and like those areas. I’ve been to Longridge too, which is nice.”

Eddie said: “I lived in Clitheroe for 25 years. It has changed and grown so much.. The town centre’s good if you want a coffee but the shops are very different to when I was here. It’s still a nice place. But everywhere have changed so much. Developers are sitting on the land.

“I’m originally from Skipton. Years ago, the Yorkshire Dales and other rural areas were pretty quiet. Today, everywhere is mobbed. People have more scope for travel. But it has an impact on towns and country areas.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Clitheroe Castle Street area. Pic: Robbie Macdonald LDRS. Partner approved.


Charlie Veitch moved to Clitheroe in November and works as a media consultant  in Manchester. He is from Scotland and previously lived in Edinburgh.

He said: “Clitheroe is a nice town and there’s not much here I’d complain about. I like it.  I’ve got my head around the one-way streets and I use supermarket car parks. My big hope with the town centre work is that it’s done quickly. So the impact is less.

“In the village of Read, just a few miles away, there have been road or street works, with temporary traffic lights, which have taken ages. The impact on traffic queuing through Read has been terrible. It’s ridiculous. It’s made my commute to Manchester so much longer.

“I wish I could be positive about the works coming in Clitheroe. It needs to be measured and quick. I’m cautiously optimistic that the councils will do the right thing. But experience makes me pessimistic.

“Also, the work is planned for the spring and early summer, which are important times for tourism. Why wasn’t it done in the winter when things are quieter?

Lancashire Telegraph: Clitheroe Castle Street area. Pic: Robbie Macdonald LDRS. Partner approved.


Clitheroe residents Chris Phillip and Colin Price believe parts of the town centre are in poor state.

Chris said: “I think it’s an embarrassment. The state of the roads and pavements is a disgrace. There are potholes everywhere. The cobbles [traffic speed humps} are sunken. Paving stones are uneven and missing. Large areas of paving or cobbles have been patched-up with tar. The view down Castle Street towards the library is a bloody disgrace.

Lancashire Telegraph: Clitheroe Castle Street area. Pic: Robbie Macdonald LDRS. Partner approved.

“I think there has been some effort over time to invest in Clitheroe. And I understand the need for investment in the castle and grounds. But parts of the town centre are in a poor state and need repairs too. If it means some traffic disruption, so be it.

“I don’t object to the street works here. But I would question the length of time it seems to take. In Japan, if a sink hole appears, they filled it in a day.”

Colin said: “Parking is another problem. It seems to get harder and harder. The authorities don’t seem to consider the needs of ordinary people coming into the town. You’ve got to pay in so many spaces but parking is free down the road in Padiham.

On parking, Chris added: “I went to get a prescription from the chemist.  But there was nowhere near to park. Am I supposed to pay £2 just to park to visit the chemist? I drove around the block again to see if I could find a gap.”