A NEW civic hall is the latest step forward in plans to modernise Radcliffe town centre, it was revealed this week.

A long-term plan recommended by the Borough Council’s development committee envisages the erection of a civic centre in the Spring Lane area, while there are also proposals for a new police station and an employment exchange.

The report, issued after a meeting with Government officials, states that the presence of the town hall at the junction of Water Street and Spring Lane makes the area a “fitting choice” for a civic hall, as well as a new housing estate.

Several years ago, Radcliffe Council rejected a move from Lancashire County Council to reserve land on the east side of Blackburn Street for civic purposes, with the St Thomas’ area earmarked for residential development.

A tentative proposal for a civic centre building near Mellor Street has since been on the table, but it is now the Spring Lane area that has emerged as the front-runner.

Much of the land and buildings in the area are already owned by either the local council or the county, including the former fire station and swimming baths, while most houses in Spring Lane are soon to enter clearance programmes.

The plans have also called for provisions to be made should the Dale Street gas works close. With the building “fairly run down” and at risk of closure according to the plans, it is suggested that the area could easily be converted back into housing.

Council officials say they are eager to have the future of the works made clear in the near future, with the potential to start work on small-scale residential projects quickly if it were to shut down.

The third major alteration made in the report is to the town’s proposed westerly by-pass. Current plans to have the road run through Radcliffe Secondary School’s new playing fields have been criticised, with Borough Surveyor John Nuttall suggesting that a better route running to the south of Black Cat Reservoir.

Councillors will be asked to approve the plans at a meeting on Monday.