A MAJOR cash injection has been approved for Bacup in the hope it could attract £2million to revitalise the historic town centre.

Councillors in Rossendale had been given £100,000 from the High Street Innovation Fund to improve shopping parades in the valley.

And they were given the option of splitting it evenly between Rawtenstall, Haslingden, Whitworth, Bacup and Waterfoot.

But instead Cabinet members voted to concentrate their efforts on rejuvenating Bacup, which is bidding for Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) status.

Earlier this year, the town was awarded £37,500, which will be combined with £12,500 to prepare a £1.5million THI bid to update shopfronts and preserve Bacup’s landmarks.

Before then, the bid team must secure £500,000 in its own right to prove it has local backing for their aspirations.

Coun Andrew MacNae, Cabinet member for regeneration, said Bacup had the largest proporition of vacant premises in the borough. He added: “This is a one-off opportunity for Bacup and it could make a massive difference if we get this right.”

The council will now be looking to the likes of Lancashire County Council and local businesses to chip in to raise the half-million target.

Coun Christine Lamb added: “This is a really wonderful chance for Bacup and it should bring in jobs, improve shops and bring in more tourists.”

The library, originally opened as a Mechanics Institute, is grade II listed and the old Market Hall dates back to the 1860s but the oldest surviving property is Ivy Cottage in Bankside Lane, which was constructed in 1776.

Other prominents features include St James’ Terrace and Irwell Mill, which is now home to the town’s health centre.