Low-cost loft living, public squares and high-profile schemes for the fashion industry and sport could be coming to the mill towns of East Lancashire.

The best ideas to regenerate the region by Manchester-based entrepreneur Tony Wilson are to be taken forward in further research by housing market renewal pathfinder Elevate East Lancashire, which commissioned Wilson.

Max Steinberg, chief executive of Elevate East Lancashire, said: “We have not decided which ideas yet, but the proposals are potentially deliverable.”

The report, produced by Wilson and Yvette Livesey, co-director of Livesey/Wilson Ideas Management, was published last week and includes such ideas as a “fashion tower”, revealed in Building (6 May 2005). This would involve the conversion of a mill to create a school of textile and fashion design.

Other ideas in the report, Dreaming of Pennine Lancashire, include development of:

  • a football-based theme park and an extreme sports centre
  • public squares in town centres, by such designers as Martha Schwartz
  • restaurants, cafes and bars in canalside areas
  • low-cost loft-style apartments.