Leader’s Viewpoint: Cllr Haworth

Cllr Marlene Haworth, Leader of Hyndburn Borough Council

This week we had some fantastic news in Hyndburn. For another year we have retained our 10 green flag awards for our beautiful parks and green spaces. This has been made possible thanks to ongoing work from community groups, volunteers and our very own parks team. I hope this summer, no matter what the weather, people will explore all there is to offer right on our doorstep.

Yet again we have more green flag awards than any other borough in Lancashire, a huge achievement and I hope we can build on this each year. Hyndburn is nestled between the Pennine hills, with lots of green space, this awards scheme is an international quality mark that sets. Benchmark standard for outdoor spaces across the world.

Two of our parks have also had recent upgrades, including a brand-new artificial cricket wicket at Bullough Park, Accrington and a new playground installed at Knuzden recreation ground, Oswaldtwistle. Both of these wonderful improvements were after consultation and calls from local people, I am really pleased that they are now in place for this summer and for people to enjoy over the coming years.

One of the highlights of the last month was being invited to an event at Accrington Stanley which saw the launch of a new Family Hub for Hyndburn. At this event there were representatives from many organisations including the NHS, Hyndburn Council, Lancashire County Council and local charities. It was truly inspirational to hear about the ambitions to work in partnership and build on the collaboration we saw throughout the pandemic. In our borough there is support for everyone and by committing to working together we can raise aspirations for all. I am really looking forward to hearing a future update on the progress with the family hub initiative.

There is something exciting happening soon on Broadway and I am looking forward to sharing more details about the launch date soon. I am sure everyone is familiar with the huge Accrington Pals banner, which was put in place to mark the centenary of WWI. Sadly, this banner has come to the end of its life and needs replacing. Council officers have been working with the local community, stakeholders and school children to design a new banner. The new banner honours our past and present, by celebrating our landscape and heritage, whilst also looking towards the future. It is very bright and I am sure will spark lots of interest when in place.

Unfortunately, we have also had some sad news recently too. The much-loved Hyndburn Arts LTD, the organisation who operate out of the Civic Arts Centre in Oswaldtwistle, have gone into liquidation. I join the local community in being devastated by this loss to the borough and appreciate the concern this has caused. With news of the situation arriving to the council too late for us to work towards resolutions, and the organisation’s board agreeing to go into liquidation, at this point there is no action we are able to take.

I would like to reassure the community that when the process is complete and this important building is in Council hands we will work quickly and swiftly to ensure it once again becomes a hub for creativity. Local people will be able to get involved in this and I am already reassured that several organisations have so far been in touch with offers to work collaboratively in the future with the Council.