ALMOST half a million pounds has been allocated to knock down a footbridge and the former open market in Burnley.

Plans were unveiled last year to remove the bridge over Curzon Street as well as knock down the nearby former cinema block.

Now council bosses are to allocate £477,480 for the work as part of a £3 million spend on buildings and equipment.

The work is being carried out as part of the regeneration of the town centre and to enable them to move forward with developing the area for retail and leisure use.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: "Details of this scheme were announced initially last year.

"The work will include the removal of the pedestrian bridge over Curzon Street, the demolition of the redundant former cinema block, the open market, and the service ramp over Bankfield.

"We see the development of the town centre into a sub-regional centre as a key part of our long term vision for Burnley.

"That is why we are currently working with Lancashire County Council to improve the town centre and why we are looking forward to the arrival of Primark, both of which will help attract more visitors to Burnley and boost the local economy."

Cllr Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Council, said: "We are expecting the work to be done this year which is why we have allocated the money in the capital programme.

"There's no specific timescale but we see this as part of the overall investment we are making in the town centre.

"We are hoping this will make it more attractive to retailers in the future."

Plans to pull down the open market were met with controversy when they were first announced last year.

The funding allocation comes as market traders from the indoor market in Curzon Street launched a monthly outdoor market in a bid to boost trade.

Cllr Townsend said that is not a replacement for the former open market but is aimed at promoting the indoor one.

Cllr Charlie Briggs, of the Liberal Democrats, said he didn't think the footbridge should be knocked down.

"We need something between the car park and the Market Hall," he said.

"I think we should be looking at whether it is possible to keep that.

"I am a big believer in open markets but where it is is dangerous because the cinema roof is caving in.

"It has to go but hopefully in years to come we will have a thriving open market elsewhere."