Mine shaft discovered under Burnley school

Former Habergham School site.
Former Habergham School site.
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The discovery of a mine shaft underneath the former Habergham High School is to delay the new Burnley High School moving to the site.

The faith school, currently housed in a temporary home in Parkhill Business Centre, in Padiham Road, had been expected to move to the former Habergham High School site in Byron Street in September.

However, engineers investigating the site discovered a shaft associated with the former Habergham Colliery directly underneath the school.

School chiefs informed parents andguardians of the 90 children expected to enroll in September.

The secondary school, run by Chapel Street Community Schools Trust, currently has 32 children in Year 7 and it will now expand its facilities in the business centre.

Local historian and mining expert Jack Nadin said the entrance to the colliery, which closed in the 1940s, stood across the road from the school. He believes the new discovery could be an air shaft or even a well.

Headteacher Mrs Dawn Forshaw said: “We are of course disappointed by the delay to the building work at our Habergham site.

“However, I am pleased we have been able to secure additional space at Parkhill for the remainder of our time here. This will allow us to upgrade the facilities we can offer to our pupils.”

Additional classrooms, science labs and showers will be created while the school will now have to share sports and technology facilities with the University Technical College in Trafalgar Street.

Executive Principal Mrs Elizabeth Haddock said: “We are delighted UTC is happy to partner with our school.

“We are excited about the many new pupils who will be joining us in September. As soon as we are able to make a further announcement about the timing of our move to our permanent home we will.”

The former Habergham building has been empty since Burnley’s other five secondary schools moved into purpose-built facilities as part of the £250m. Building Schools For The Future programme.

The opening of the Burnley High School has attracted criticism from some quarters – believing it could endanger the existence of the nearby Hameldon Community College which has been undersubscribed since it opened.

But Burnley High School governor Coun. Charlie Briggs said: “I am very proud to be a governor here. I have never seen so happy children coming to school.

“I don’t believe we are a threat to other schools. All I can say is that I’ve found the pupils and teachers to be fantastic.”