Rawtenstall's new town square opened

Rawtenstall's annual fair
Image caption Rawtenstall's annual fair was held on the new Town Square site

A Lancashire town can "realise its enormous potential" now its derelict shopping centre has been replaced with a new town square, said a council boss.

Rawtenstall's new open space facility, built on the former Valley shopping centre site, officially opened earlier.

The centre was derelict for more than five years before Rossendale Borough Council bought it and demolished it.

Rossendale Borough Council leader Alyson Barnes said: "It is a big day for the town."

Hundreds turned out to celebrate the opening of Town Square and attend Rawtenstall's annual fair.

Ms Barnes said: "It was a long time coming. It stood empty for years and was an absolute blight on our town centre."

She said the council was going to work carefully with developers Barnfield Construction to further improve the square, and it would be utilised by holding events such as the Christmas markets.

June Worsley, chair of Rossendale Revival group, said she was "ecstatic" when demolition on the Valley centre started in February and was "absolutely thrilled with the open space" that has replaced it.

She added: "It has a lot of potential."

The cost of purchasing the site from owners Ashcap, demolishing it and landscaping it was £2.5m.

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