THE latest piece of the £125 million redevelopment of Burnley’s former mill heartland looks set to slot into place with the confirmation of new lottery funding.

Finsley Gate Wharf, parts of which date back to the early 18th Century, is now in line for £2 million of Heritage Lottery Fund backing.


Emergency funding totalling £289,300 will first be deployed to ensure the structural stability of three historic warehouses, a canal cottage, old blacksmith’s forge and boat slipway.

While that work is being completed, the Canal and Rivers Trust is being asked to draw up a restoration schedule, which should release the remainder of the main grant.

Early ideas for the wharf, known locally as Mile Wharf, include a boat repair yard, restaurant, rental cottage and a mini marina for passing crafts on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

Nick Smith, the canal trust’s enterprise manager, said: “The impressive restoration of the Weavers’ Triangle area has attracted national attention, inc-luding visits from the Queen and our patron, the Prince of Wales.

“This wonderful collection of historic canal buildings has been vac-ant for the last 15 years and both the trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund are very keen to see these historic buildings preserved and brought back into use again as a commercial enterprise.”

Outgoing borough council chief executive Steve Rumbelow, also chairman of the canal trust’s north-west partnership, added: “The grant is great news. It will enable us to breathe new life into an important canalside si-te in Burnley, comp-lementing the wider heritage regeneration activity and partner-ship working which is in full swing.

The announcement comes after Birmingham-based developers St Modwen reaffirmed its commitment to redeveloping the neighbouring former Finsley Gate Mill and Healey Royd Mill site, with 18 canalside townhouses and another 149 homes being given planning permission. Another site on the other town centre side of the Weavers Triangle, George Street Mill, could become home to 160 apartments and a host of shops after planning permission.

Andrew Connolly was given planning permission by the borough council.

Other successful projects within the same corridor are the £10million university technical college, Sandygate Mill being converted into a new East Lancashire HQ for the Prince’s Trust and ongoing work to create a public square off Sandygate.