The future is looking bright for a beautiful building with a proud past.
Brierfield Mill, which has laid empty for a number of years, has opened its historic doors to its first full-time tenants following a multi-million pound redvelopment.
The £32m. Northlight complex has now welcomed Lancashire Adult Learning as the first centre to open at the former mill.
Representatives from Pendle Borough Council, developers Barnfield Construction and backers Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Economic Partnership gathered to see inside the first phase of the project.
Lancashire Adult Learning principal Amanda Melton said: “I think it’s perfect. We’ve recently moved our head office from Chorley to here in Brierfield.
“Our service provides support for adults across the county. Our aim is to help adults into to work so that they can support their families.
“This is a real opportunity for us to reach out to those communities who need a bit of help their families’ health and well-being.
“We are perfectly situated here now, next to the railway and close to the motorway, in the heart of East Lancashire and those communities that want to up-skill, develop and find new opportunities.”
The new LAL Centre will support a staggering 22,000 adult learners in Lancashire across 120 venues in the county. An official launch event will be held in October.
Lancashire County Council and the LEP provided £1.4m. to support the relocation of Lancashire Adult Learning from Chorley to Northlight thanks to LEP’s £750,000 of Growth Deal Skills Capital and £650,000 from the county council.
The LEP has also invested £4.2m. of Growth Deal funding into the overall Northlight scheme.
And the county council is providing £2.15m. for Northlight, including improved access from the M65 and re-developing part of the canalside for leisure.
Leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, who also chairs Pendle Enterprise And Regeneration (PEARL), said: “I’m delighted this fantastic facility has found a new home in Pendle in the beautiful Victorian office buildings of our iconic mill.
“Over the last two years Pendle Council has been at the forefront of redeveloping this mill. We’ve taken the lead in bringing together this partnership which has now come to fruition.
“I’m now looking forward to more tenants moving in in the future.”
Tim Webber, managing director of developers Barnfield and a PEARL board member, said his team had worked intensely and with great care to sensitively restore and refurbish this piece of Pendle heritage for a new purpose.
He also announced the next new developments for Northlight at the preview as work continues on the rest of the site to transform the whole complex.
These include a residential planning submission for 52 apartments.
He said: “As Pendle developers with our HQ within sight of Northlight, it’s been a labour of love for us and we’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
“It’s full speed ahead with Burnley FC in the Community which opens fantastic facilities here in the spring and In-Situ opening their innovative garage site as an arts and culture hub.
“When the whole development is complete in four years time this iconic building will be a gateway to Pendle.”
Graham Cowley, chairman of the LEP Growth Deal Management Board, said the investment reflects how the LEP supports projects which add real value to the county’s economy at both a local and regional level.
“Brierfield Mill is gradually being transformed into a thriving hub of education, leisure and residential services, which will benefit the whole of the local community, while the new LAL office will be able to deliver vital adult learning provision more effectively and efficiently across all of Lancashire.
“It’s a great example of how the Lancashire Growth Deal can help unlock investment and drive regeneration.”