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Cuerden Valley Park visitor centre and cafe to reopen after arson attack

Posted on - 15th October, 2021 - 11:07am | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Business, Crime, Lostock Hall, Parks, Preston News, Recreation, South Ribble News, What's On in Preston
Cuerden Valley Park during winter Pic: Steph Reece
Cuerden Valley Park during winter Pic: Steph Reece

Cuerden Valley Park Trust has announced that their visitor centre and cafe will reopen this Saturday following a recent arson attack.

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Opening on Saturday 16 October, the reopening follows a closure caused by a fire started deliberately on 27 September.

Six fire engines attended the blaze. Due to the swift actions of officers, they managed to contain the fire.

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General Manager Simon Thorpe said: “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. Sadly, 14 staff have lost three weeks wages due to the closure of the cafe and the actions of an individual.”

Lancashire Police have arrested a male in connection with the fire, and he has been released on bail while investigations continue.

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The trust said they are grateful for the support and offers of help received.

Insurers and contractors have worked to open the cafe ahead of schedule. A specialist cleaning company are working long hours to sanitise and deep clean the surfaces ready for opening.

Fire damaged areas are closed, and with a few changes to the layout, the trust said that customers and visitors will hardly know the difference and have the same much-loved food, drink and hospitality.

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Cafe Supervisor Sarah Pickles added: “Staff cannot 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.”

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

Mr Shenton said: “The attack on the Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre must not be allowed to interrupt the excellent work undertaken by the trust in its educational programmes for primary school children.

“I am delighted to be able to offer immediate use of the hall for the trust, the teachers and children so these important programmes can continue uninterrupted.”

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There will be a further closure in 2022 to repair the fire damage, lasting around four to six weeks. The trust said they hope that temporary outdoor takeaway facilities and toilets will be in place during this time.

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