SHOPPERS are being urged to support their own town centres and in particular their own markets.

The call to Rossendale people was made by council leader John McManus, who predicted people could lose the shops and stalls if they don't use them.

He said: "Big improvements have been made to the markets in Bacup and Haslingden. But the council can only do so much. It's up to local people to go and spend their money there.

"If people want their town centres to survive they must shop there."

The comments follow complaints from Bacup market traders that local people are not visiting the newly-refurbished market.

A new market is due to open in Haslingden and the council has just agreed to buy Ilex Mill in Rawtenstall as part of plans to extend that town's shopping centre.

Coun Michael Cruse praised the shopkeepers of Haslingden for their patience while extensive work has been carried out in the town centre.

Speaking at the council meeting, he said: "Now the new Big Lamp has been lit, Haslingden is coming to life again. We owe a lot to the people who designed the new lay-out and to the shopkeepers who have put up with a loss of trade while work was in progress.

"The community has a right to a town centre and individuals have a responsibility to support local shops provided traders can meet demands."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.