Burnley Bondholders in partnership with Burnley Council took Burnley to Manchester last week, holding an Invest in Burnley event hosted by Place North West, at the Museum of Science and Industry.
160 key decision makers and influencers attended the event entitled ‘Burnley – 10 years of growth’ to hear about Burnley’s growth, key success stories, development opportunities, and the latest stats which put Burnley in the UK top 10 for private sector jobs growth.
With commercial development land unlocking space to create more than 4,400 new jobs, a university set to grow to 4,000 students, new housing land for 3,880 new quality homes, all coming on stream in Burnley, the event was held to highlight development opportunities and to attract new developers to get involved in these opportunities for the next decade and beyond. The event also highlighted the new Town Centre & Canalside Masterplan and proposals for the Pioneer Place development with the aim of attracting occupiers in the retail and leisure sector to this development.
Speakers included Dr Ebrahim Adia, Provost at the University of Central Lancashire; Caroline Baker, Head of Office, Cushman and Wakefield; Ian Scott, Director and Head of Build-to-Rent at Lambert Smith Hampton; Tim Webber, chairman of Barnfield Construction; Kate Ingram, Strategic Head of Economy & Growth at Burnley Council; David Walker, Managing Director of 24 Marketing and Co-Founder of The Landmark; Debbie Hernon, Manager of Charter Walk Shopping Centre; Andrew Dewhurst, director of Maple Grove; and Burnley Council chief executive Mick Cartledge. The event was chaired by Place North West editor Jessica Middleton-Pugh, Place North West.
The event opened with an address from Burnley Council Leader, Mark Townsend, who said the last few years had been about “changing perceptions of the town” and now it was gearing up for a period of strong growth, driven by “huge investment” from both the public and private sectors.
Councillor Townsend said: “I was really pleased with the event, which we delivered in partnership with the Burnley Bondholders. We had some key decision makers in the room, giving us a great platform to talk about Burnley’s catalysts for growth, Burnley’s burgeoning tech sector and job creation, and key investment opportunities, and we came away with some quality leads.”
Mick Cartledge, chief executive of the council, also addressed attendees with details of the recently adopted Local Plan highlighting the opportunities available following the release of 175 acres of employment land and 195 acres of housing land. He also detailed Burnley’s draft Town Centre and Canalside Masterplan, and the vision to deliver a “much broader offer” for Burnley Town Centre, identifying priorities for leisure, office and residential investment.
Mick Cartledge then joined a panel featuring Andrew Dewhurst, Cllr Michael Green of Lancashire County Council; David Walker; Debbie Hernon; and Dr Ebrahim Adia.
UClan’s Dr Ebrahim Aida said: “We made a strategic decision about 18 months ago to expand our campus in Burnley based on analysis – there’s a population around Burnley of half a million people but it’s the only area of its size that doesn’t have its own university.”
Dave Walker, MD, Plus 24 Marketing said: “There has been significant growth in the digital economy in Burnley but we need to fly the flag more and this event was a great way to showcase our tech presence.”
The event also focussed on the new town centre Pioneer Place development, led by Maple Grove, which will grow Burnley’s the night-time economy targeting “specific occupiers” for each of the development’s 10 restaurant and retail units, which will sit alongside the Reel cinema.
Housing was also a key focus of the Manchester event – with the town’s growth increasing opportunities for locally-based, high-wage jobs, seeking developers to provide a wider choice of quality housing within the borough including four and five-bed homes.
Kate Ingram, Strategic Head of Burnley Council’s Economy and Growth team said: “We made some key contacts at the event who were very interested in the upcoming development opportunities, and we’ll be following these up over the next few weeks. We want to attract developers that will bring a quality product that’s sensitive to the local environment and diversity of the borough’s offer.”