Rawtenstall's new public square is 'new beginning' for town
THE OPENING of Rawtenstall’s new public square heralds ‘a new beginning for the town’.
Those were the words of council leader Alyson Barnes after the open space on the former Valley Centre site was officially launched yesterday.
Brave Theo Bishop, 9, was on hand to cut the ribbon and declare the £2.5m development open. He returned from a life-changing operation in America in August which allowed him to walk flat-footed for the first time.
Community leaders throughout the Valley praised the launch, which coincided with the second Rawtenstall Annual Fair.
June Worsley, chair of organisers Rossendale Revival said: “It was absolutely fantastic, I really think it’s a fresh start, I’m thrilled with how it went.
“The feedback from stallholders has been really positive.
“This open space is great, I hope we get to keep it for a long time.”
Coun Barnes added that she was absolutely delighted with the spirit and atmosphere in the town over the weekend.
She said: “It’s good to see so many people out and about. We aim to make a visit to Rawtenstall a real day out. “We’re a traditional Lancashire market town, and we only have to look at the success of Clitheroe and Ramsbottom to see what can be done.
“We’re in talks with an artisan market group next week about bringing more of this sort of thing to the town.”
Former Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott unveiled a mosaic dedicated to the old Astoria Ballrooms which used to occupy the Valley Centre site.
Listing a host of music stars, including The Who, to have played the venue in its heyday, he declared: “A little bit of them lies here now.”
Mayor of Rossendale, Councillor Brian Essex, said it was ‘a privilege and honour to open this marvellous square’, before offering three cheers and encouraging visitors to ‘spend, spend, spend’. Former Rossendale Radio DJs Si Carvell and Peter Sweetmore played music and introduced live acts as hundreds of people flocked to the square throughout the day.