MAJOR plans are in the making to transform Radcliffe town centre and the surrounding area.

An action plan has been formed to change the appearance and overall feel of some of the main streets and sites as part of a £500,000 investment this year to "attract people to the town, improve links, drive footfall, and develop community".

The first phase of the project is expected to see £250,000 spent on a variety of environmental schemes to improve and upgrade the area surrounding the main piazza, Church Street West, and a section of Blackburn Street.

The plans have been drawn up by the Radcliffe Regeneration Task Group, which was formed 10 months ago to bring businesses, community representatives and councillors together to improve the town centre and wider area.

Its aims include enhancing the environment, shaping improvement, forming an events programme, improving parking management and bettering security measures.

Funding for the scheme has been pledged by Bury Council.

Chairman of the group, Cllr Jamie Walker, who represents Radcliffe North, said: "We are working together to do something good for Radcliffe — to celebrate what we have and to build on that.

"This is the first joint piece of work that has been done in a long time.

"We are planning to make improvements that the community itself has said are important — improving links to the town centre, driving footfall, forming a programme of events by drawing on its cultural and arts background. These are things that have been needed for a long time.

"And it is not just about upgrading the appearance of the town centre; it is about upgrading how people feel about the town."

Initial plans include a shop front improvement scheme, an events programme, improve car parking management, and better business security measures.

Environmental works are likely to include replacing or installing new planting features, replacing or adding street furniture, seats, signs and litter bins, installing artwork, and upgrading paving and pedestrian routes.

Additional plans include improved street lighting and planting new trees on key routes to improve the overall appearance of streets.

Consultants WYG Design were due to present the draft proposals to the Regeneration Task Group last night at Radcliffe Market Hall.

If approved, the next step is to draw up detailed designs and carry out further consultation prior to work starting. This will include discussions with Bury Council’s partners, such as Transport for Greater Manchester.

Cllr Walker said: “There has been significant investment in Radcliffe town centre by the council and our partners, including the new bus station, the Lidl store and the refurbishment of Radcliffe Market Hall, together with new housing proposed for the former East Lancs Paper Mill site.

“We want to build on this, and ensure that the town centre environment is improved to increase confidence and future investment in Radcliffe.

“The first phase of this exciting plan will bring forward a range of environmental improvements, but this is just the start – more initiatives will follow over the next few weeks and months to promote and continue the longer-term regeneration of Radcliffe town centre.”