Live Magazines’ Tedd Walmsley urges readers to support the bid to save Waddow Hall and questions why more isn’t being done to boost footfall on our high street
Well, it looks like I’m back by popular demand. Thanks to those of you who have been in contact to ask why I had no column in the last issue. I’d decided to donate the space to an article we ran on saving Waddow Hall. This will be a herculean task to raise the £5m required to buy, develop and maintain this historic building and secure its future for generations of young people to enjoy. Check out page 108 as we are once again supporting them by laying out how to get involved with this much-needed fundraising.
I can’t help thinking that once again RVBC should be involved in this, in a major way. They have money in reserve and need to exert more pressure on home builders to complete development as planned, to collect Section 106 monies, which is a condition of planning. That said, given the new ‘hung council’ the likelihood of anything major being decided in the next few years is close to zero.
Talking of RVBC, have you picked up on the recent fiasco of the last full council meeting? A recently-elected Conservative Councillor Brocklehurst rather dramatically defected to Labour during the council meeting. Putting the theatre and commotion of this to one side, it is quite significant and I also question why this didn’t trigger a by-election? The Conservatives now have only 17 of the 40 seats with obviously no majority on any committee. I fear that their inability to agree will simply lead to very few, if any, key decisions being made.
Staying with this theme I’ve been made aware of a series of planning issues that appear to be preventing investment in Clitheroe – this is set against a backdrop of at least 15 empty shops in the town centre alongside two banks and the Piccolino site which, after three years lying empty, must be very difficult to rent given its position and condition. I implore the officers and those on the planning committee to stop saying, ‘no – what’s the question?’ and start finding ways of working closely with the private sector and those willing to put everything on the line to bring wealth, footfall and success to what is becoming a beleaguered high street. I was hoping to confirm a host of events and late-night openings in this issue, which would of course help the retail and hospitality sector, but I’m afraid as we go to print, little seems to have been agreed or promoted.
I’ve been on the Visit Clitheroe website for example, which is woeful and out of date – the search function results seem to be zero for the forthcoming months in terms of events. I fear if this lack of joined-up thinking and support continues, we will see a further demise in the high street as entrepreneurs find more supportive councils to work alongside – wake up RVBC before it’s too late!
I’m also a little concerned about the lack of profile of our current MP Nigel Evans. Apparently he has a new office and surgery in Longridge, which reflects the changing boundaries for the next General Election. Perhaps he hasn’t been given a map of his new territory as I’m told he’s not been seen for many weeks, nor hosted any surgeries. Currently there is so much at stake at both local and national level. We need the local councillors, borough councillors and our MPs to do the jobs they have been elected to do.
As we approach Christmas, I wanted to pay tribute to the fine work done by the team at the Ribble Valley Food Bank. They are an amazing group of volunteers, who support more than 200 people per month in the area. They do however need your help and support so if you can, please make a donation via their website – ribblevalley.foodbank.org.uk – there is a list of urgently required items.
This is our last magazine before Christmas and I wanted to end the column by thanking everyone for their support this year – notably my team, our advertisers and of course you, our readers. We have enjoyed bringing you Live Ribble Valley magazine and thrilled by your reactions. Have a peaceful Christmas and be kind to each other.
The views above are my own and I’d be delighted to get some replies to my questions and will report back on any progress and positive outcomes.