AN landmark mill chimney dominating a town's skyline is to get a £200,000 plus renovation.

A detailed inspection has revealed that the 115-foot-high structure at Burnley's Queen Street Mill is in need of strengthening.

Structural engineers believe the historic chimney, towering over the 1894 Grade I listed building dating, has suffered damage from a century's exposure to the elements.

The contract, currently being negotiated with steeplejacks by the mill museum owners Lancashire County Council, is believed to be worth in excess of £200,000.

Burnley MP Julie Cooper welcomed the work but said the government should pay part of the bill for 'a landmark of national significance'.

The renovation will not prevent the reopening of the mill in Briercliffe but will reduce the initial number of opening days and part of the premises will be cordoned off for safety. Entry will be free.

Queen Street Mill is the only surviving operational steam-powered weaving mill in the world.

It has been the backdrop for numerous documentaries and dramas, featuring in the Oscar-winning film The Kings Speech.

Cllr Cosima Towneley, chair of the county's Cabinet Working Group for Museums and whose Burnley Rural ward includes the museum, said: "To allow the work to take place part of the building has to be cordoned off for health and safety reasons.

"Access to the weaving shed at the museum will be maintained when the museum reopens on July 7 to coincide with the Briercliffe Festival.

"The council has though decided to limit the number of days the museum will be open this season to ensure work can be undertaken quickly. There will be free access on these days."

Mrs Cooper said: "I am delighted this work will be done.

"The mill chimney is an iconic and historic part of Burnley's skyline.

"However, the county should not pay for work alone.

"The mill and its chimney are a landmark of national significance and the government should pay towards it."

The museum will reopen on July 7, and then on August 11, September 8, September 15 and October 13.

Cllr Peter Buckley, county cultural boss, said: "Queen Street Mill is an important part of the heritage of Burnley and Lancashire.

"Because of the height of the building the work will need to be carried out by steeplejacks, who do an incredibly specialist job. I really hope people take advantage of the free opening."

The mill ceased operation in 1982.