Major Plans For Canalside Area
DERELICT reminders of Burnley's glory days are to be revived in an ambitious plan unveiled in a special ceremony this week.
The historic buildings in the Weavers' Triangle could become a vibrant district of homes, bars and restaurants, offices and public squares on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Burnley Borough Council unveiled a four-part masterplan extolling the very real potential of the matrix of old weaving sheds, mills and workers' cottages, which are currently just empty examples of fantastic architecture holding memories of Burnley's boom during the cotton era.
In a marquee on the site of the former Clock Tower Mill, civic dignitaries, including the borough's then Mayor and Mayoress, Coun. Roger Frost and Mrs Pauline Frost-Hardwick, and commissioners from English Heritage, including best-selling author Bill Bryson, were the first to witness the initial steps in a drive to regenerate one of Burnley's most historically important areas.
The gateway to Burnley, taking in Westgate, Finsley Gate, Hammerton Street and Sandygate is now mapped out, showing how it could look if massive investment is drawn in.
The concept brings the buildings into the 21st Century, with desirable canalside apartments, leisure facilities and offices, open spaces and a new college complex, framing the town centre, which has a masterplan of its own.
The plan would need 213m. of private sector investment and 51m. of public funding per year for 15 years, but it would create or safeguard 4,763 jobs, attract 195 new businesses and involve the construction of 315 new dwellings.
But the plan is not restricted to just restoring old buildings, there could be radical traffic calming changes, especially on major routes into town, such as Trafalgar Street, and even a footbridge linking the Weavers' Triangle to Manchester Road Station.
Mr Bryson said: "People are starting to realise they can reuse these fabulous structures, and once people start seeing new uses for them it will instil a renewed sense of pride. Towns and cities in America would kill for the architecture and buildings you've got here in Burnley."
The masterplan's aim is to attract people who work in cities such as Manchester, who currently opt for homes in the Peak District and other parts of Lancashire.
Funded by the North West Regional Development Agency, with financial support from English Heritage, Burnley Borough Council and Lancashire County Developments, the masterplan has been drawn up under the vision of "a dynamic mixed use area capitalising on the area's unique heritage, but including the best of contemporary design".
The masterplan was born out of a study of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal commissioned by English Heritage and the North West Development Agency, undertaken by British Waterways.
The chief executive of English Heritage, Dr Simon Thurley, said: "Heritage-led regeneration is a challenging process in formerly industrial urban areas, but we believe this excellent masterplan will provide a firm basis for the development of the Weavers' Triangle which, over time, will again become a vibrant place to live, work and visit."
See Tuesday's Express for an in-depth look at the Weavers' Triangle masterplan.
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