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.



As the last of the of the valley settlements to become a town, Rawtenstall has seen constant changes over the last hundred years, all driven by over-ambition. These are evident in the Library, which stands alone from the great civic project of the 1900s, to the loss of New Hall Hey Hall and the creation of the huge centre island (gyratory) for a bus interchange, and the proposals for the extension of the M66 which has left the dual carriageway ‘by-pass’ ending in a bottleneck at Tup Bridge. 

The clearance of the town centre and desire to see an all-singing, all dancing, shopping and leisure complex is the current manifestation of this. The fact remains; if it had been possible, both financially and in terms of access and viability, appropriate development would either have happened a long time ago, or punters would be now be queuing up and vying for favour with our beleaguered Council.  

It can’t help but be said that successive Councils have all missed the point; speculation gets you nowhere; what is needed is positivity.  Although, some time ago, Lancashire County Council put forward plans and finance for a perfectly functional bus station, RBC’s attempts to make this into something much grander has spiralled into a plethora of overlapping proposals that most people have now lost track of, and put Rossendale in the firing line for most of the possible expense. 

In their present form, the plans have mutated into a bus station that will demand road closures, traffic restrictions and multiple control systems, a ‘town square’ shrinking to little more than a widened pedestrian street cluttered with planters and accessed by ramps and steps, and two huge blocks whose uses are still not determined. So how can parking and servicing be anticipated? Royal Mail have made it clear that their early morning activity needs to be catered for, and Lancashire County Council have already said that deliveries must be between 12.00 midnight and 6.30am. 

 The statement from Councillor Alyson Barnes that none of the new build will be started until takers are found is good common sense, but it rests on the assumption that, despite all the hurdles of access and service, someone will take the risk. Maybe, some day, the present approach to shopping trends and private and public transport will change, but until then, it looks as if Rawtenstall’s future is being shelved for yet another dream based on speculation and uncertainty. 

If RBC could accept that the current use of the open space of the square for events and community activities is the demonstration of public ideals, and take this forward as a positive long term factor, it would not only avoid the pitfalls of speculative investment, but bring some stability and assurance. let alone confidence, to a town which desperately needs it.  Anything more will surely evolve, naturally, from there. 


Bus Station Update March 2017


Concerns continue about the proposed bus station in Rawtenstall town centre. Rossendale Civic Trust’s investigation has discovered that the roads surrounding the site have yet to be subject to an official Closing Order. Until this issue is addressed work on the project can not continue.

There are several objections to the Closing Order, including our own. We, and others, are very concerned as to how the closing of several well used roads will effect the flow of traffic in the heart of Rawtenstall. While the Council has presented their outline plan for this it has yet to be officially addressed and we feel that it’s implementation will create even more problems then it is supposed to solve.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.

Rawtenstall Town Hall Update

A new proposal was submitted regarding the old Town Hall just before Christmas:-





What does this proposal for a new entrance to the old Town Hall say about present day Rossendale?  2017 is the 50th anniversary of legislation to protect and enhance Conservation Areas. Much has been learned in that time about respecting older buildings and blending modern ones into the townscape. Has the message got back here yet?

We have put in a strong objection and a request for a return to the drawing board for something much more compatible with 21st century expectations.

And we haven’t yet ruled out the possibility of keeping at least some of the building (and the irreplaceable stonework) that is there now…………..

Rawtenstall Town Centre September 2016 Update


For the last few years there has been a slowly developing project to redevelop Rawtenstall’s town centre. At the heart of these plans is the demolition of existing buildings, including the historic Town Hall and the construction of a new, more modern, bus station in the town square.

While we would be the first to agree that the current Rawtenstall Bus Station is in desperate need of an upgrade the planned bus station is, in our opinion; unfeasible, impractical, out of keeping with the town. In turn we strongly oppose any demolition of the old Town Hall, which is one of the few remaining icons of the classic Rawtenstall townscape. We believe this action would be for the worse.

Both ourselves and national historical groups have protested against this development and through hard work, dedication and some intensive campaigning have been able to save part of the old Town Hall. Forcing the developers to re-think their plans, however the battle is not won yet. Nearly half of the landmark building is still scheduled for, what we feel is, needless destruction. The only thing gained by this act would be a handful of parking spaces, already earmarked for private use.

Continue reading Rawtenstall Town Centre September 2016 Update