A rallying cry has been issued to get people behind an “inspirational” new community project to build a quality retirement complex.

The project is the brainchild of Craig Hall, former chairman of Great Harwood Rovers FC, who says it was inspired by people taking back control of their own communities - evoking notions of Victorian purpose-built mill villages.

The scheme has received backing from Hyndburn council in principle, and a plot of council-owned land in Great Harwood town centre has been identified.

The site, off Holgate Street, is in front of the methodist church near the former Western County Primary School.

TV aerial engineer Craig, who stood as an independent candidate in the general election ten years ago, describes himself as a ‘socialist’, and has appealed to the local community to band together to offer any skills they may have to make the idea viable.

Craig was chairman of Rovers for eight years and says the interest he received from local tradesmen over a previous changing rooms development has provided encouragement.

He said: “The plan is to build an old people’s home in the centre of the town, built by the people of Great Harwood.

“I’m familiar with some of the voluntary sector in Great Harwood and there’s a lot of people out there that would like to get behind the project, but who don’t think they have anything to contribute.

“What I want to do is take advantage of people’s skills. We’re all getting older - I’m 56 and do a lot of work in old people’s homes.”

Patch of land in Great Harwood has been identified for a possible retirement home

Craig, who has reached out via a new Facebook page called The Great Harwood Project, plans to organise a design competition with local colleges and universities, and is exploring tie-ups with apprentice tradesmen.

He said he had been inspired by Saltaire Village in West Yorkshire, named after 19th century mill owner Sir Titus Salt.

“Although this guy facilitated the idea, it was actually the workers that built it,” said Craig.

“I thought with a town of 11,000 population you have absolutely no idea what kind of talent or knowledge base we have in the town. We need a design, and then we can source materials and get something done around getting the volunteers.

“We can actually shape the look of our town centre by taking on something like this. I have got a few people involved and it’s something that the town can get behind.”

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson has offered Craig his full support, and said it was an appeal to other self-employed tradespeople who may wish to leave a “legacy”.

He said: “It’s an inspirational thing Craig is coming forward with. A quality retirement complex similar to what the mill owners would have done 100 years ago, and providing almshouses.

“I’m fully supportive of it and the land in question is the Hyndburn borough council-owned former Western County Primary School. It’s something which is in the early stages, but it would be a really good development.

“It’s in a fantastic location for a retirement development right in the centre of Great Harwood. It’s got a car park next to it so there are no issues with parking.

“I wish him luck and I’m fully supportive of him getting other business people in Great Harwood involved.”

You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here.

For the latest news and breaking news visit the LancsLive website.

Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you.

Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on [email protected].