Improvements to town centre shopping area to go ahead

The first phase of a four-year programme to improve lower St James Street in Burnley town centre has begun.

It follows confirmation of £1.2 million of funding from Historic England, after a successful bid by Burnley Council, to help create a Heritage Action Zone in the area.

A series of public realm improvements will form part of a wider scheme to regenerate the area and make it a more attractive “gateway” into the town centre.

It’s the first part of a regeneration scheme which has been drawn up by the council and will be delivered through Historic England’s successful HAZ initiative to breathe new life into the historic high street and bring physical improvements and cultural activities to regenerate and restore local historic character.

The untapped potential of this part of the town’s core, with its strategic position between the growing student population at UCLan’s base in the Weavers’ Triangle and the town centre, will be enhanced. 

Also, building on the momentum created by restoring the Burnley Empire Theatre, the High Street HAZ aims to nurture an evolving creative district by creating more opportunities for local artists and bringing together the local community to celebrate Burnley’s identity and strong sense of pride.

Improvements to town centre shopping are here

Council leader Charlie Briggs said: “This is great news for Burnley and we’re very happy the hard work put in by the council to apply for this money has paid off.

“Lower St James Street is identified as a key project in the Town Centre and Canalside Masterplan.  This will build on our planned public realm improvements, help to renovate the heritage buildings in the area and revitalise that part of the town centre. 

“We’ve invested in improving other parts of the town centre and it’s important that lower St James Street is brought up to a similar standard. It will make it more attractive and encourage more people to go into that part of the town centre. 

“It fits in well with the wider regeneration of the shopping centre, the proposed Cinema/Leisure development at Pioneer Place, the investment that the University of Central Lancashire is putting into the Weavers’ Triangle, and the work being done to transform Burnley into a university town.”

The programme aims to create a vibrant cultural quarter sitting between the town centre and the Weavers’ Triangle.  

The funding application said: “The borough has a history of creativity, but many creative people have to move away from the borough to find suitable studio space and artistic networks. There is untapped potential in the buildings in St James Street, together with experience of the partners to turn this trend around and deliver a new creative community in the heart of the conservation area.”