Welcome to West Accrington

 

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Welcome to West Accrington

a handbook of creative ideas

Welcome to West Accrington

In 2007 we were invited to lead on a project to examine the role of art within Housing Market Renewal (HMR).  Although the viability of HMR projects altered, with the downturn in the economic environment in 2008 and changes to the funding for regeneration projects from 2010, the work that went into the report has a great deal of merit in its own right.  You can download the full report here; it makes fascinating reading and ties in with our aim for bringing art + people + places together.

Mid Pennine Arts, supported by Vista Projects, prepared this report for Hyndburn Borough Council.  It was made possible by support from Elevate East Lancashire, the area regeneration agency at that time. The report examined how a creative programme could support HMR and the regeneration of West Accrington, Lancashire.

The study was overseen by a steering group of stakeholders including representatives of residents. The findings were informed by extensive consultations with local people, groups and individuals, as well as key officers from the agencies working in the area. An extensive  programme of creative sessions in the three local schools engaged children, their families and teachers. 

The report looked at the collective need to renew a distinct sense of pride and identity. Central aim of the study was that residents of West Accrington - old and new - should feel a pride in their environment, focused as much on the future as the past.

The study identified five topics, including three where creative artists were asked to contribute ideas.

  • Temporary use of land after clearance A unique new system of street signage and linked features
  • Creative design work to support the regeneration of the Blackburn Road shopping strip
  • A focus on three new public spaces, as milestones in the emergence of the new neighbourhood
  • Ideas for trails and waymarking that can support an ongoing community programme

From the Foreword:

'It gives us considerable pleasure to introduce this Handbook. The ideas presented here provide positive and exciting ways to help West Accrington regain the pride in itself and the sense of place that it once had. We commend the Handbook to everyone involved in the regeneration of West Accrington - residents, funders and stakeholders alike. We hope that through your commitment to the area you are able to provide the means to realise at least some of the ideas within it.' 

Cllr Peter Britcliffe and Cllr Peter Clarke - Hyndburn Borough Council (2007)