It has been brought to our notice that the web site has not had any additions for some time – so now to make amends!
The Trust is alive and well, with a healthy bank balance and rising membership. Our Weavers’ Cottage HQ has new windows, replicating the ones that were there in the 1940s, when they were believed to be original. We are busy putting our collection back together in new exhibition mode, and look forward to welcoming visitors again this
Also, hopefully, Rawtenstall will soon be more presentable and accessible. We have had almost ten years of delays, disruption and road closures, which have seriously hampered the life of the town.
Picking up from one of the last comments on the site, it must be said that the Council’s decision to pull out of the many ambitious scheme put forward for Valley Centre Part 2 seems to have been widely welcomed. Well, it was predicted that it wouldn’t work, and now’s the time to go back to the drawing board and make something of the space we are left with.
Of course we have the new bus station at last, and surely more can be of that? If the retail spaces facing the empty square aren’t taken up by commercial users, can we find community uses for them? Just as the former Astoria was linked to the old square for both indoor and outdoor events, can these covered spaces be used for presentations,
exhibitions etc. linked to events on the new space? Above all let’s be positive about this – it is a great opportunity to get something worth while out of all the effort and change.
But this comes with a warning; our town centres, Bacup, Rawtenstall and now Haslingden, are Conservation Areas, and that means all that goes with them. The idea of Conservation Areas was put forward over 50 years ago, with the idea of carefully nurturing what was felt to be worth treasuring from the work of previous generations. That did not mean preservation without change, but to guard against unsympathetic change to things people love, and there is a great danger that the input of unprecedented amounts of money from Government grants could lead to bold and unsympathetic interventions. This is something that must be monitored; while we add our own imprints to our towns, care must be taken not to eradicate what has survived from the past, and that includes the feel and character of the place as well as the buildings themselves. Current buzz words and phrases such as ‘harm and benefit’ need to be properly understood, and above all, the people who live and work in those places should be consulted at an early stage on any proposals.
There is a lot of work for Civic Trusts and Societies like ours to do not only in Rossendale but across the whole country, and Rossendale Civic Trust is a part of that national movement, and will continue to work with colleagues at all levels and in all places to make our environment better for all.