Burnley : News

Pioneer Place backed by Burnley FC CEO Neil Hart

  • Neil Hart, the CEO of Burnley FC and Chair of Burnley Bondholders, has commented on the news that revised plans have been submitted for Pioneer Place in Burnley’s town centre;
  • The leisure anchor application is for a seven-screen cinema and 12,750 sq ft of leisure and retail space, centred around a new public realm;
  • Mr Hart said: “Pioneer Place will be a fantastic leisure attraction for residents in the town, Burnley FC fans from far and wide who come to home matches and of course, football fans who travel to Burnley for away matches.”

The CEO of Burnley FC has praised the planned Pioneer Place development in Burnley’s town centre, describing it as a “fantastic leisure attraction”.

Neil Hart, who is also chair of the public/private sector initiative Burnley Bondholders, commented after the news that a revised application had been submitted for Pioneer Place, on the former Co-op site in the town centre.

The £21.3 million development, which will deliver 180 construction jobs, 120 new jobs and £1.35 million gross value added (GVA) to the local economy, will include a seven-screen cinema and 12,750 sq ft of leisure and retail space. This will all be centred around a new public realm.

Mr Hart told Burnley.co.uk: “Pioneer Place will be a fantastic leisure attraction for residents in the town, Burnley FC fans from far and wide who come to home matches and of course, football fans who travel to Burnley for away matches.

“Burnley is fairly unique in that it has a Premier League club with a town centre presence. Turf Moor is easily accessible by car, public transport and by foot from the town centre, which includes the Pioneer Place site.

“This means, in normal times, football fans travelling to and from Turf Moor can explore our town centre’s shops, restaurants and bars, many of which are independent, as well as the new offering from Pioneer Place. The club is proud of what Burnley has to offer and we’d always recommend visitors make a long weekend of our town. From attractions such as Towneley and Gawthorpe Halls (the latter of which is where our training ground is based), the Singing Ringing Tree and the luxury Crow Wood Hotel and Spa, there’s plenty to see and do here.”

Work is expected to commence on Pioneer Place this summer.

Burnley FC Chief Executive
Neil Hart, the CEO of Burnley FC and chair of Burnley Bondholders

Burnley’s retail, leisure and hospitality sector in numbers

Pioneer Place will be another asset to add to both the domestic and visitor economy.  Burnley’s central location within both the UK and the North West means it is incredibly well connected. This makes the town extremely easily accessible for visitors, with 2.6 million tourism visits annually[1].

As such, Burnley has a firmly established retail, leisure and tourism sector, which accounts for some 9,250 of jobs[2]. The town’s high street has recovered well following the first national COVID-19 lockdown of 2020. Burnley’s town centre is in the top ten for recovery for both footfall and spend[3]. Unlike major nearby cities, Burnley’s high street is not reliant on town centre workers for its commercial success, which is one of the reasons cited for its strong recovery following the first lockdown. There are also more than 40 bars, cafes and restaurants within a mile of the town centre, making Burnley a convenient location for tourism and local visitors alike. The town centre also benefits from a vibrant mix of big brand and independent shops.


Case Study: Crow Wood

Another business in this sector that is proud to have a base in Burnley is Crow Wood Leisure.

What Crow Wood is a unique concept in health, fitness and leisure. The resort plays host to an award-winning members health club and gym, fantastic soccer centre, world-class spa facilities, a fabulous 76-bedroom hotel and three resort restaurants, two of which boast AA rosettes.

Where Set within 100 acres of greenbelt land in the heart of Burnley, just off junction 11 of the M65. In the 1990s, MD Andrew Brown purchased a dairy farm and began his ambitious project. Today Crow Wood Resort and Spa attracts thousands of visitors to Burnley each year.

Size 279 employees

Why Burnley? “Burnley has a rich heritage, yet continues to challenge visitor perceptions with its ambitions and vision. It’s a small town with a big heart. The people of Burnley are hardworking, ambitious yet down-to-earth and welcoming. There’s a huge sense of community spirit amongst everyone here. The town has always been good to me and it’s important to me that we are able to give something back to the economy and provide jobs and fantastic leisure opportunities for local people. Burnley absolutely deserves these world-class luxury leisure experiences to complement its fantastic location, great affordable housing and career opportunities.” Andrew Brown, MD of Crow Wood Leisure

Andy Brown, MD of Crow Wood
Andy Brown, MD of Crow Wood

[1] Visit Lancashire STEAM 2018

[2] Annual ONS BRES data 2018

[3] Centre for Cities September 2020