The first business to benefit from an initiative to improve shopfronts in part of Burnley town centre has unveiled its new look.

Funding was made available to eligible businesses in Lower St James’s Street to improve their frontages as part of a wider scheme to regenerate the area.

To mark the milestone, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place at 143 St James’s Street, the offices of Delta Taxis.

Under the scheme made available through the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project, the cost of the eligible work was met through a combination of grant and a contribution from the business.

Councillor Mark Townsend, Burnley Council’s executive member for economy and growth, said: “This is great news; it’s important to protect the stunning heritage architecture on Lower St James’s Street.

“A lot of investment is going into the area, with the expansion of the nearby University of Central Lancashire campus, which will breathe new life into that gateway area of town, and the recent public realm improvements.

“We are delighted to support property owners with this funding, which will not only enhance these buildings, but the wider town centre conservation area.”

The HSHAZ project is made up of funding from Historic England and Burnley Council and is aimed at improving shop fronts along Lower St James’s Street and to help realise the area’s potential, as well as to complete restoration work on the former Empire Theatre, provide public realm, heritage skills training and deliver a programme of community engagement initiatives.

Historic England’s Zinnie Denby-Mann said: “By investing in the heritage of our much-loved high streets, we’re working with local businesses and partners like Burnley Council to increase footfall and re-energise these spaces, boosting local trade and people’s pride in the town.”

This scheme is vital to demonstrate to other properties the fantastic opportunity that the HSHAZ scheme provides, restoring historic buildings in a prominent position in the high street conservation area.

The project has been delivered by professional agent Lea Hough, contractor Penyard Ltd with input from the building’s owner, Buttress Architects and Burnley Council’s Development and Planning Officers.

Longer term, this grant will be the catalyst for further investment on Lower St James’s Street, encouraging other property owners to become involved in the scheme. The project will improve the block and add further value to the recent public realm scheme that improved the appearance of the whole area.