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Wilson suggests new order for East Lancs.

July 18 2005

Build a new Curry Mile. A stylish shed for every man and every woman who wants one. Buy 50 PA/Lights combos and install them in clubs and bars willing to run weekly gigs for young musicians. Just three of the more outré suggestions made by Tony Wilson and Yvette Livesey in their document Dreaming of Pennine Lancashire, a document that Wilson describes as “a series of thoughts, ideas and proposals to feed the minds and ambitions of all those dedicated folk who work for the betterment of the people of East Lancashire.”
Wilson, was chair of Factory Records until it was declared bankrupt in 1992 His singular role in the realisation of Manchester as a cultural powerhouse was satirised in the film 24 Hour Party People. Livesey/Wilson Ideas Management is a consultancy group he formed with his partner, Yvette Livesey, a former Miss UK and founder of the successful In The City music conventions. They were commissioned by Max Steinberg, CEO of ELEVATE the Government’s “housing market renewal pathfinder”. “We wanted to stimulate thought and provoke discussion on how people in East Lancashire see themselves and what other people think of the area,” he added.
Whilst ELEVATE’s remit is largely to improve the quality of dilapidated communities through renovation or demolition and rebuild, according to its spokesperson, Kathleen Houghton, the body “are ideally placed to bring together various agencies behind one coherent strategy.” Elevate has local authority partners in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, and Rossendale. Despite the radical nature of some of the proposals in Livesey/Wilson’s document, however, local authorities comments were supportive.
“It is clear that the housing market in East Lancashire is affected by a lack of a coherent identity and by negative perceptions of some parts of the pathfinder. We welcome this imaginative piece of work and look forward to discussing how to take these ideas forward,” said David Welsby, Managing Director of Hyndburn Borough Council. “Providing choice within, does not necessarily make people or businesses from outside choose East Lancashire. That is why… Burnley Borough Council fully supports the Pennine Lancashire Report,\" said Council Leader Stuart Caddy
Whilst local architects and developers worry that ELEVATE is going to commission volume house builders outwith the local area for its huge rebuilding project - £22 million in Blackburn with Darwen alone – the pathfinder, is to commission a further study which will select up to 5 of the proposals in Dreaming of Pennine Lancashire for further development, by the end of the year. Pennine Lancashire, as Livesey Wilson believe the region should be rebranded as, may yet convince the Government to provide every entrepreneur with a bookkeeper for half a day a week or the opening of a short stretch of line joining Hebden and Burnley to the main Victoria train line.

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