Tim Webber talks about a “pipeline of aspirations” in his native east Lancashire. His company Barnfield Construction is working hard to turn those aspirations into reality.
To do so it has embarked on a range of joint ventures across the area with local councils and organisations.
Webber says that without that partnership approach regeneration in this part of the North West simply wouldn’t happen.
Barnfield currently has live partnerships with Hyndburn, Pendle, Burnley, Rossendale, Ribble Valley, Craven and Blackburn with Darwen councils.
They include an ambitious 10-year homebuilding partnership with Burnley Council to boost its housing market.
Its joint venture company with Pendle Council is on site in Colne and Brierfield working on £8.6 million new homes projects.
And there is the ambitious £32m project that is transforming Pendle’s historic Brierfield Mill into Northlight – heralded as a new living, working, learning, leisure and cultural destination for Lancashire.
It is being delivered by PEARL, the joint venture set up between Pendle Council and the investment property arm of Barnfield. And the regeneration of the six acre site promises to be a game-changer.
Funding has been provided by both the private and public sector. Cash has come from Pendle and Lancashire County Council as well as from Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal.
Webber, chairman and managing director of the business he started in the mid-70s, says that without the support of a range of bodies and the councils Northlight would not have happened.
“Without them all coming together and bringing capital support and grants we could never have got that off the ground.”
He adds: “The problem is the low value when projects are completed. It does make it very difficult to get schemes off the ground, even with subsidies. All this intervention is really necessary.
“We are working with our partners very well and it’s a good thing for local authorities because they are running out of resources. We give them another dimension and to some extent we are partners in their economic development units.”
The £70m turnover builder and developer is also working to deliver growing online fashion retailer Boohoo’s expanding warehousing operation in Burnley.
Barnfield is also the principal contractor a brand new HQ, brewery, visitors centre and stables for Lancashire brewers Thwaites.
It is working with the Euro Garages Group on a speculative 185,000 sq ft shed at Frontier Park near Blackburn, part of a 48 acre development.
And it is constructing Evolution, a 200,000 sq ft speculative development of warehouses at Agecroft Park in Salford, just three miles from the M60 and five from Manchester city centre.
Webber believes there is an opportunity for the area to deliver more logistics jobs but warns a lack of available land may mean missing out.
He says: “We are running out of sites and there is an urgent need. Demand is immediate; a lot of companies can’t wait for a site to be found and then have to go through a lengthy planning process. They need the space and they need it now.
“Local authorities need to be braver about opening up more strategic sites.”
Original story: Thebusinessdesk