THIS is the first glimpse of Burnley’s multi-million pound Knowledge Park which could bring hundreds of jobs to the borough.
Advanced engineering, digital and manufacturing firms are being sought for the hi-tech development next to the Burnley College and UCLan campus. Council chiefs hailed the scheme, on the five-acre site of the town’s old recycling plant, as ‘superb’.
Strong links between businesses and the college on graduate start-ups, skills and knowledge transfer would also be forged, bosses said.
The park, which has outline planning permission, would house an enterprise centre for new, small growing businesses, workshops, office space and business accommodation.
It is expected to create between 250 to 400 jobs, although no firms have signed up yet.
The council has selected a development partner for the Knowledge Park, Birmingham-based Trebor Developments, after seeing them achieve success with similar projects in Malvern Springs and Hemel Hempstead.
Council leader Coun Julie Cooper said: “The Knowledge Park will provide a superb offer to advanced manufacturing and digital industries who can tap into the advanced research and development, and the unrivalled manufacturing and robotic technologies from the adjacent educational campus.”
The plans have emerged after it was confirmed Warburton’s is set to spend £20million on a new sandwich plant off Rossendale Road.
And the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal that vital funding to fund a new £3.5million public square and wishbone bridge on the Weavers’ Triangle site is set to be secured.
Work has also been recently completed on the link to connect the 1,400 job Burnley Bridge Business Park with the M65 and the Aerospace Suppliers Village, on the former Michelin land, is now taking shape.
Just last autumn Burnley was named the most enterprising place in the UK, a reputation cemented by these two latest announcements.
Borough chief executive Steve Rumbelow said: “The vision is to make Burnley a regionally significant centre for advanced manufacturing.
“To achieve this it is important we create modern business environments in which these businesses can thrive and we are confident Trebor Developments will create the right environment to attract growing businesses from advanced engineering and digital industries.”
Elsewhere county council leader Jennifer Mein has been recommended to approve £200,000 towards a ‘public realm’ scheme for the Weavers’ Triangle in Burnley.
The second phase of the former cotton heartland’s regeneration, including a major overhaul for Slaters’ Terrace and the establishment of a new Prince’s Trust headquarters, is underway.
Around £3.45million was also required for street and highway improvements, principally around Sandygate Square, for which £2.1million had been pledged by the Regional Growth Fund, £1million by the European Regional Development Fund and a £150,000 local transport plan investment.
County officials say that their £200,000 will provide the last piece of the jigsaw and enable work to be completed by June.
Mike Cook, the council’s economic regeneration director, said: “This is a great example of a strong working partnership that will benefit both the borough’s and Lancashire’s economy.
“This funding will support the ongoing private sector investment in the Weavers’ Triangle and its wider regeneration.”