TRADERS have slammed plans for a £400,000 revamp of Bacup’s historic crossroads, claiming it will create traffic issues and damage the town’s heritage.
Nearly 250 people have joined a Facebook group named ‘Save Our Bacup Fountain’, set up to protest against plans to scrap the fountain situated on the roundabout in St James’ Square.
Bacup Traders Association said its members are ‘extremely concerned’ about the changes that include changing the road layout of the town centre as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative proposals.
David Lawrie, chairman of the traders group, said: “The traders are extremely concerned about the plans for many reasons.
“One being the maneuverability of larger vehicles through the proposed sharp bends, as well as the loss of the fountain which is part of Bacup’s heritage in what is claimed to be a conservation led project.
“We are also worried about the ‘shared space’ idea, which by the looks of it does not allow vehicles to share the same space as pedestrians, only pedestrians to have free rein on the roads, and there are no pavements as such.
“I would like to see them create a temporary new road layout using cones to prove this idea is manageable before they throw so much money at it.”
Traders are also concerned the work is predominantly taking place in an area surrounded by empty shops, with no mention of improvements in the surrounding streets that boast thriving businesses.
Today (Sat) council leader Coun Alyson Barnes pledged not to demolish the water feature and take on board people’s comments about the plans at a drop-in consultation at the library.
The council has said regeneration project would make the area more attractive to shoppers and visitors and ease congestion on the busy junctions of Burnley Road, Yorkshire Street, St James Square and Market Street.
It plans to replace street surfaces with materials more in tune with the appearance of the surrounding buildings and busy roads will be changed with the aim of allowing traffic to flow more freely.
Space to accommodate on-street activity, such as stalls, fairs and street cafes, has also been planned.
Coun Barnes said: “Nobody needs to worry about the fountain being bulldozed because it can be moved.
“We will be listening to everything people say about the plans at the consultation and taking them into consideration.”