£375,000 to be spent on Burnley town centre improvements

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BURNLEY town centre is set to undergo a raft of radical improvements.

A sum of £375,000 will be spent on making the pedestrianised areas in town more attractive, after Burnley Council’s executive released funds from the capital programme.

The executive was also presented with a report from the Town Centre Working Group, which has spent more than six months reviewing the town centre, looking at vacant shops and potential future development.

“Improvements to the pedestrianised areas of the town centre will help ensure it is modern and attractive, but more importantly it will help to boost both the daytime and nighttime economies of the town,” said engineering manager Winston Robinson.

The improvements will include replacing street furniture such as seating, re-paving the surface and renewing the planters. The council is also considering installing amenity lighting to light up buildings, similar to the system used to light up the railway viaduct next to UCLan/Burnley College.

Officers visited Pendle and Blackpool and studied works in Manchester and Sheffield as part of the preparatory work ahead of the improvement scheme.

Speaking to the executive, Coun. Darren Reynolds, who was part of the working group, said: “A lot gets said about the empty shops and the general attractiveness of Burnley town centre so a decision was made to do this work.

“Burnley isn’t worse than anywhere else and is actually doing better compared to similar towns. We are impressed with the work being done by head of facilities management, Colin Hill, in keeping the town centre in shape. He should be commended.”

The report said although Burnley was coping with the changing economic climate, steps needed to be taken to revitalise the market.

“We’re concerned about the long-term future of the markets,” said Coun. Reynolds. “Radical action needs to be taken quickly.”

The report said the executive needed to urgently evaluate and bring forward alternative plans for the markets, backed with funding, taken into account the level of recent progress made with private development. It comes in light of the council’s bid for £100,000 from the campaign set up by shopping guru Mary Portas to help regenerate Standish Street, while a separate bid has also gone in for the same sum for Padiham.

The council also recently agreed plans submitted by Addington’s to revitalise the market square area of Charter Walk Shopping Centre.

Coun. Margaret Lishman said: “As long as we have Colin Hill then the town centre and the markets will continue to buck trends. Every year he seems to be able to do wonderful things and we cannot thank him enough.”