Rawtenstall: A place to call home

By Ged Henderson

09 Jun 2023

Rawtenstall Bank Street

Rawtenstall is on the map. The town has been declared one of the ‘best places to live in the UK’.

It was just one of six towns and cities in the country to make it into this year’s prestigious Sunday Times Guide.

Experts judges visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street.

In their assessment of Rawtenstall they said: “An improving town centre that’s home to interesting bars and restaurants and a buzzing weekend street food and bar scene –- as well as Mr Fitzpatrick’s, believed to be the last temperance bar in Britain — mean this old shoemaking town is a worthy rival to fashionable Ramsbottom a few miles to the south, especially among first-time buyers and young families who are snapping up the good-value two-up two-down cottages.”

John Boys, director of construction and development business B&E Boys, says being on the “cusp” of Greater Manchester is “a real positive”.

He says: “We’re seeing people coming in and buying homes and a lot more people from Greater Manchester want to move out. They’re still going into the city but they’ve got the countryside here and all the rest of it.”

Ian Liddle, managing partner at law firm Farleys has seen the interest in valley living grow within his business. He says: “We have a Manchester office and a lot of our employees are looking to relocate from in and round Manchester into the Rossendale Valley because they get good quality housing at a decent price in a great location."

He says Rossendale offrs people the chance of a better work-life balance and adds: “Walk down Bank Street in Rawtenstall and it is thriving.”

Nick Dykins, managing director of Slingco, says: “We’ve been in the valley 20 years and we moved to Rawtenstall two years ago. A town in Greater Manchester offered a substantial amount of money for us to move there as an employer. We stayed in the valley and one of the prime reasons is valley folk are grafters, they are just fantastic employees.

He believes Rawtenstall would benefit from having a hotel in the town centre and more work is needed on the weekend visitor economy.

Tony Garner, managing director of Viva PR, says the business’ location plays a key role in its recruitment strategy. He says: “We find it really hard to recruit at junior level.

Bank Street is great, love the market, but a 21-year-old graduate is going to love Manchester city centre that much more.

“Our staff are predominantly over 30, we’ve got a lot of experience and talent. We can attract them because they love working and living in this part of the world.

“They appreciate the great schools. I know we’ve got transport issues but you get that anywhere. The things that make Rossendale great are the things that make it a problem as well. You can’t have the beautiful hills and the great scenes and great transport links. It’s a balance, it is a compromise.”

He adds: “The Sunday Times has highlighted something we all know. Rawtenstall is special and Rossendale is a special place.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Ged Henderson

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