Happy Platinum Jubilee weekend Burnley!

70 years. What a monumental achievement of our Queen to have served our nation on the throne. For some of you, it may only feel like yesterday that members of the royal family visited Burnley for the 60th jubilee. Our streets were lined with children waving Union Jack flags, flags hung from buildings and the sun was thankfully shining as Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles arrived in our borough. Indeed, it is a rare occurrence for three senior royals to embark on such a tour together and the special memory will no doubt be etched in the minds of many of us.

During her visit, the Queen acknowledged the incredible efforts that had gone into transforming the borough. If the Royal Highness was to bless us with a visit for her 70th jubilee (although, of course, at the time of writing, this was not on the agenda), she would no doubt be even more amazed at how far Burnley has come since her last visit.

Padiham has had a tremendous amount of work carried out over the past two years alone, from the attractive public realm and shop fronts to the restored Padiham Town Hall.

Over in Burnley town centre, where to begin? The foundations of Pioneer Place, the new leisure and hospitality complex next to the main shopping area, are quickly taking shape and the framework will shoot up from the ground before we know it. This complex will provide yet another bow to the arrow of our thriving town centre, which has repeatedly been singled out in the press for having enjoyed impressive recovery both during and following the pandemic. Rather than travelling to neighbouring towns to access similar offerings, residents and students can enjoy the facilities on their doorstep instead.

The £100 million expansion of Burnley College continues at apace and really is a “they didn’t have this in my day” moment should you ever get the chance to take a tour. Alongside the expansion of UCLan Burnley, more recently with plans to occupy the former empty Newtown Mill on Queen Lancashire Way, Burnley certainly has gone to the next level of redevelopment ten years down the line from the Queen’s visit.

Ten years ago, the Queen, Prince Philip and their son Prince Charles stepped off the train at Manchester Road (the station again has come on a long way since 2012, with the opening of the Todmorden Curve in 2015 to connect Burnley directly to Manchester, and further improvements in the pipeline still) and stepped onto a canal boat barge for a half-mile tour. They travelled through the Weavers’ Triangle, a piece of heritage that holds a special place in the heart of Prince Charles, before moving onwards to Slater Terrace and Victoria Mill. Once again, this part of town is unrecognisable from the 60th jubilee and is akin to something you would find in a city such as Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool. Slater Terrace is a thriving hub of creative and digital businesses, whilst the interiors still provide a nod to their cotton-making heydays. Sandygate Halls, the purpose-built student accommodation for UCLan Burnley, houses over 90 students alongside the canal and is an incredible asset to our university town status. Not only is it conveniently next to Victoria Mill, but also the canal and a short walk from the town centre, really providing an affordable quality of life and environment that is truly unique.

Burnley FC was another stop on the royal tour, with Turf Moor seeing a substantial amount of investment into both its corporate hospitality and external appearance over the past couple of years. The digital screens both in and around the ground befit the prestige of the club, whilst the incredible hospitality facilities have made our party venue feature also in this edition. Meanwhile, Burnley College now boasts a £100 million campus, with plans to expand this further still.

Now in her 70th year on the throne and sadly without her husband by her side, the Queen has certainly faced challenges in recent years. But it is fantastic to see people come together across the borough to throw street parties to celebrate her reign.

More than 80 street parties (and those are only the ones we were aware of) plus numerous other parties and events are to be held as we all go barmy for bunting and flag waving to mark this historic milestone.

Burnley town centre’s monthly Artisan market  on Saturday will be decked out in red, white and blue, while Padiham will also be a riot of colour and activity.

The Mayor of Burnley, Councillor Cosima Towneley, will light a Jubilee beacon at the Singing Ringing Tree in the moors above Burnley to form part of a national chain of fires that lit up the night sky before spending a very, very busy weekend visiting as many street parties and other events as possible, to meet people and wish them well as they toast the Queen and recognise her magnificent reign.