The Leader Times series September 13th 2019

In last week’s column I mentioned my ongoing dialogue with Ministers to make the case for Pendle being included in the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.   I am delighted that my efforts paid off, with a deal of up to £25 million agreed for Nelson. 


The fund is aimed at towns that have not kept up with the economic growth of other more prosperous areas. This is all part of a wider towns strategy I was involved in writing during my time as a Business Minister.  Most towns receiving support are in the north or midlands.


We now must all work together to make sure that Nelson makes the most of this once in a life-time opportunity.  I’ve called for as wide public consultation as possible so residents can help identify the best ideas on how to improve the whole town. 


Whilst this award is great news, our other towns need support too. I am backing bids from Colne and Barnoldswick to receive support through the £675 million Future High Streets Fund.  I had further discussions this week about supporting Rolls-Royce in Barnoldswick and welcomed representatives of Silentnight down to London for a meeting with Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst.  I was also delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP, to the outstanding Nelson & Colne College to discuss the additional funding that has been announced for colleges and the new T Level qualifications. 


In Earby, following completion of the £1 million project to repair the Victoria Clough culvert, I am lobbying for further flood relief works to better protect the town’s businesses and residents.  And in Brierfield, the £32 million regeneration of the Mills continues with work on the residential part of the project now underway – all made possible by government money which kick started the project. 


Finally, it was a pleasure this week to welcome Hassan Mahmood to the Foreign Office. From Nelson, Hassan is and taking part in Oxford University’s Young Leadership Course for talented people in their 20s. Hassan is one of the many young people growing up in Pendle with great potential. By investing in our area, we can help ensure he and all other young people in Pendle can fulfil their ambition without having to move away to one of the big cities.