The historic alleyways in Ormskirk Town Centre are important because they give an insight into the town's history, providing a valuable link to the past. The alleyways were built in the 17th and 18th centuries in order to move goods into the yards and outbuildings that had been built behind the buildings facing the main streets of the town. Later, in the 19th century, some of these back spaces became “courts” where the poorest inhabitants lived in crowded and insanitary conditions.
Today, only a small number of alleyways remain but they are a distinctive feature of our town centre. Some are homes for independent shops and businesses and all continue to be used for pedestrian access.
Unfortunately, many are no longer in a good state of repair. Ormskirk Community Partnership has therefore been working with owners, local businesses and the council, to repair their historic features and to make them better and more welcoming for visitors and local people.
We have already tackled one alleyway, between Clarks Shoes and Heyes Opticians, on Moor Street. Gone are the uneven cobbles, neglected walls and run down appearance. The ancient cobbled path has been carefully restored, walls have been painted, and the makeover completed with security lighting, CCTV cameras and attractive information boards, which tell the story of the alleyway.
We already have individual plans for other alleyways in the Town Centre and had hoped to start work as soon as we have the necessary funding in place. However, West Lancashire Borough Council has informed us, in October 2023, that not only is plannng permission required for the proposed work but that funds which had previously been promised are no longer available. It is therefore uncertain whether OCP will be able to progress this project in the foreseeable future.
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