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Call for fairer deal as Earby misses out on cash
10:50am Friday 13th July 2012 in Local news
A Pendle councillor has called for a fairer deal for smaller town centres like Earby after it was snubbed for regeneration cash.
Pendle Council was awarded £100,000 last month to help breathe new life into shopping areas and chose to split the cash between Nelson, Colne and Barnoldswick to deal with the problem of empty shops.
The row is set to be the first test of the alliance formed between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in May to create a council majority over the Labour group.
Coun David Whipp (Lib Dem, Barnoldswick’s Craven ward) said: “Pendle was awarded £100,000 to help revitalise shopping areas. Last month the Conservative majority on the council’s executive voted to stop smaller shopping centres getting any of this funding, with the lion’s share going to Nelson.
“The day after their decision, Nelson was selected as a Portas Pilot and awarded £100,000. It’s wholly unfair that struggling shopping centres in Earby and Brierfield are missing out on this money. We are calling on Pendle Council to back a fairer way of using this money to bring some benefit to all parts of Pendle. In total, there is £200,000 of funding available; our smaller centres should share in this opportunity to get improvements.”
The first allocation of £100,000 is set to see £61,000 go to Nelson, £26,000 to Colne and £13,000 to Barnoldswick.
And although that allocation was not approved by the full council at a recent meeting, the matter will now go before Pendle Council’s executive, which meets next Thursday, July 19.
“Conservative councillors made the original decision on the assumption that Nelson wouldn’t be chosen as a Portas Pilot,” he said. “It’s grossly unfair for our smaller communities to miss out when Nelson is getting a double dose of funding.
“I’m arguing for an equitable share for towns like Earby and Barnoldswick,” added Coun Whipp. “I can’t believe that Earby is completely missing out.
“Earby is desperate for assistance to revitalise its shopping streets. If you look at the proportion of empty properties, it is comparable to Nelson.
“All these long-term empty properties are bringing the town down and this money would give the area a shot in the arm.”
Coun Joe Cooney, the Conservative leader of the council, said: “The money is going where it is needed most and will complement the Portas money.
“We could have split it differently, but it would have been a small amount going to Earby and Brierfield and wouldn’t have made a difference.”
“Putting this money in wouldn’t solve the problem in Earby,” said Coun Morris Horsfield (Cons, Earby). “The money has to be match funded by the shops themselves and they couldn’t afford it in these difficult economic times.”