Ormskirk Town Centre’s historic alleyways are to be improved as an £107,000 project is saved after an intervention by Our West Lancashire. Overspends on the unpopular ‘pagoda’ removal at Wheatsheaf Walk and on the Ormskirk bus station development had threatened this community-inspired project.
Ormskirk’s alleyways are a reminder of the town’s medieval past and Ormskirk Community Partnership had worked on proposals to restore them. These proposals were incorporated by the Borough Council into a successful bid to Historic England for funding. However, when the projects to remove the pagoda at Wheatsheaf Walks and the bus station redevelopment ran over budget the alleyways project was threatened with loss of funding.
Ormskirk Community Partnership had completed one alleyway between Heyes Opticians and Clarks’ shoe shop but communication with the Council had dried up and the Partnership were owed money. The Partnership approached a number of councillors including OWL Councillor Adrian Owens to help resolve the situation.
Cllr Owens said, “The Community Partnership tell me that they received the monies owed but heard nothing further from the Finance Portfolio Holder about the continuation of the project. However, I took up the matter on their behalf. Clearly difficulties had beset the pagoda removal project, but it was wrong that the alleyway project should suffer as a result. A report approved by cabinet even proposed the use of the remaining funds on the bus station redevelopment. I objected and thankfully this was not approved by full council.
I had two meetings with officers. Due to staff changes and lack of documentation it took them several months to get to a position where the recent council budget restored the funding to the alleyway project. I’m delighted that alleyways in Ormskirk will now be improved with restoration work to their historic paving; improved lighting and works to draw out the history of the town.”
Ormskirk OWL activist, Janet Ingman said, “The alleyways are often one of the first parts of the town centre visitors see. The improvement works on the alleyway that has been completed on Moor Street make a positive difference and I’m looking forward to seeing other alleyways improved as the project now moves forward.”