A CONTROVERSIAL free school is to set up their base on a business park for the first year.

Park Hill Business Centre has been chosen as the short-term site for Burnley High School.

Local businesses and contractors will be hired to turn the business centre on Padiham Road into a short-term base for the new high school, which will open in September.

Green spaces around the facility will be fenced off and used for sports facilties.

An on-site former staff kitchen is to be turned into a kitchen for pupils and teachers.

Elizabeth Haddock, the school's executive principal, has experience of establishing schools in temporary sites, being part of the team which started Atherton Community School in Atherton Town Hall.

She said: “As a short-term location, the business centre will be more than adequate for the needs of the school in the first year.

“I’m very pleased with it - it is clean and modern with lots of green spaces surrounding us. While we have just the one year group it will be a good site, and actually enhance our close-knit family ethos.”

New guidelines state that buildings chosen by the Department for Education for use as state-maintained schools can be used for one academic year.

The DfE has now rubber stamped the plan and sent notification to Burnley Council, negating the need for planning permsision.

Planned work includes partitions to separate existing floor areas, provision of new male female WCs, changes to fire exit doors and to create a new pupil entrance.

Local contractors will also be hired to supply temporary free-standing kitchen units for re-heat and serving purposes.

New fencing and school signage will also be erected at the site.

Russell Rook, chief executive of Chapel St, the organisation behind the school, said: “It’s great news that Park Hill Business Centre has been confirmed as the temporary site.

“I'd like to thank those who have supported the opening of the new secondary school for their determination to see a secondary school established in Burnley in which we can have confidence and pride.”

The permanent site for the new Burnley High School is still said to be the former Habergham High School, Byron Street, Burnley where work will begin later this year.