Trust bounces back from arson attack

Cuerden Valley Park Trust has announced that the Visitor Centre and Café will reopen again this coming Saturday 16th October. It follows the closure following a fire which was started deliberately on 27th September. Six fire engines attended the blaze and thankfully due to their swift actions the fire was contained.

General Manager Simon Thorpe commented:

“Although we all feared the worst, the straw bale building performed as experts predicted, with the tightly packed dense straw proving difficult to ignite but wooden floor and structural timbers have suffered worse. The damages are estimated to be in the region of £250,000, and sadly 14 staff have lost three weeks wages due to the closure of the Cafe, all because of the actions of an individual.”

We understand from Lancashire Police that a male has been arrested and interviewed in connection with the fire, and released on bail while investigations continue.

The Trust is enormously grateful for the support and offers of help that have been received. Our insurers and contractors have pulled out all the stops to get the Café open again way ahead of schedule. A specialist cleaning company are working long hours to sanitise and deep clean every surface ready for opening. Fire damaged areas have been boarded off and with a few changes to layout customers and visitors will hardly know the difference and have the same much loved food, drink and hospitality from our fantastic staff.

Café Supervisor Sarah Pickles added:

“Staff can’t wait to get back to work, they have missed the customers, and have been really upset by the damage caused after all the hard work during the Covid lockdowns.”

Meanwhile the Trust has expressed its appreciation to Colin Shenton, new owner of Cuerden Hall, who has offered to accommodate school field trip bookings which have had to be relocated.

Mr Shenton said:

“The attack on the Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre mustn’t be allowed to interrupt the excellent work undertaken by the Trust in its educational programmes for primary school children, so I am delighted to be able to offer immediate use of the Hall itself for the Trust, the teachers and children so these important programmes can continue uninterrupted”.

There will be a further closure in 2022 for a full repair of the fire damage lasting around 4 to 6 weeks. We hope that temporary outdoor take away facilities and toilets will be in place during that time.