The pieces are started to fall into place on an exciting development at the gateway to Pendle.
A decade after the former Smith and Nephew factory at Brierfield Mills closed, work started this week to transform the seven acre site.
The ambitious £32m project to create Northlight will create a new living, working, learning, leisure and cultural destination.
Main contractors Barnfield Construction began work on Monday on the first phase of Burnley FC in the Community’s leisure facility along with offices and learning facilities for Lancashire Adult Learning’s new base in Brierfield.
Once all work has been completed, the leisure facilities will include indoor and outdoor pitches, a climbing wall, cricket nets, dance and fitness areas and a play area.
“This week marks a huge step forward for Northlight as we start major work on site,” said Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, Chairman of PEARL and Leader of Pendle Council.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that all of the pieces of the jigsaw are coming together and we can now start to transform our vast heritage mill.
“For more than six generations Brierfield Mills, with its unique position looking out to Pendle Hill, has played a significant role in our community.
“This historic complex, which stretches over seven acres, will have new life breathed into it.
“Northlight will significantly contribute to the regeneration of Pendle as well as creating an exciting major new destination for the North West.
“We expect the offices and training facilities for Lancashire Adult Learning and the first phase of the leisure facilities for Burnley FC in the Community to be completed by autumn 2017.
“We will also be starting to create easy access to Northlight from the M65 and work will be getting underway to create new car parking, footways, landscaping and the canal marina.”
The Northlight project is led by PEARL, a joint venture development company established between Pendle Council and Barnfield Investment Properties Ltd.
Tim Webber, Managing Director of Barnfield and a PEARL board member said: “As Pendle-based developers and contractors we’re extremely passionate about Northlight.
“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for many months on developing a scheme that will bring huge benefits to not only the local residents offering brand new leisure facilities, but also in an economic nature for local businesses.”
The total cost of Northlight is £31.8m with funding being provided by both the private sector and the public sector.
Pendle Council has committed £1.5m and Lancashire County Council has approved funding of £2.15m to support the development.
The county council money includes £1.5m for infrastructure and public realm works, including redeveloping the canal marina for leisure use, as well as £650,000 to support the relocation of Lancashire Adult Learning from its current base in Chorley.
Leader of Lancashire County Council, Coun. Jennifer Mein said: “Bringing together leisure, residential and educational facilities in this iconic building will create a host of opportunities for people from across Lancashire and beyond and provide a real boost to the economy.”
The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has allocated £4.2m from its Growth Deal and the has approved a further £750,000 of Growth Deal Skills Capital funding towards the cost of relocating Lancashire Adult Learning.
Graham Cowley, Chairman of LEP’s Growth Deal Management Board, said: “I’m delighted that we are now able to see the transformation of Brierfield Mills into Northlight begin.
“This scheme is a great example of how the LEP is investing funds strategically to support major projects that have a wide ranging impact locally, from supporting jobs and business growth to improving leisure and education opportunities.
“Driving economic growth and regeneration locally though projects like this is a key part of our ambitious strategic programme to fuel economic growth in Lancashire over the next decade.”
Neil Hart Chief Executive Officer of Burnley FC in the Community, said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to develop a sustainable leisure and sport facility on the Brierfield Mills site.
“Brierfield Mills is an iconic site steeped in history and we can’t wait to see this project become a reality!
“Once this site has been transformed into a state of the art leisure facility I am absolutely confident we will inspire, support and deliver change for the local community.”
The new facility for Lancashire Adult Learning will be run by Nelson and Colne College.
It will support and deliver adult community learning across Lancashire as well as providing a centre in East Lancashire, which has the greatest demand in the county for community learning.
Principal of Lancashire Adult Learning and Nelson and Colne College Amanda Melton said: “We are thrilled to be a part of such an exciting and ambitious project, and are looking forward to LAL’s next chapter at Northlight.
“Our base will now be at Brierfield, but our provision of courses will remain the same, and we will continue to help adults re-discover a love for learning by running a range of classes across the county.
“We are here to help adults across Lancashire develop new skills and improve their career prospects, and our staff remain committed to putting learners and their needs at the very heart of LAL.”