BURNLEY bosses have welcomed being awarded a share of a national funding pot to invest in further regenerating its town centre.

The money from the Historic High Street fund will be invested to revitalise lower St James Street

Burnley Council put forward a bid for £1.3 million over four years.

The exact amount Burnley will receive will be announced in January following the submission of detailed proposals.

Council leader Cllr Charlie Briggs said: “This is great news for Burnley. We have been awarded, in principle, agreement for developing a High Street Heritage Action Zone for the lower St James Street area.

“Lower St James Street is identified as a key project in the Town Centre and Canalside Masterplan.

"This will build on our planned public realm improvements, help to renovate the heritage buildings in the area and revitalise that part of the town centre. We’ve invested in improving other parts of the town centre which looks fantastic and attracting more shoppers and visitors in. It’s vital we go further and bring lower St James Street up to a similar standard and increase the number of people who visit that part of the town centre.

“It fits in well with the wider regeneration of the shopping centre, the proposed cinema and leisure development at Pioneer Place, and with the investment that the University of Central Lancashire is putting into the Weavers’ Triangle and the work being done to transform Burnley into a university town.

“We’re working to create an exciting and ambitious buzz about Burnley and this funding is a great boost for our plans for lower St James Street.”

The program aims to create a vibrant cultural quarter sitting between the town centre and the Weavers Triangle.

The application said: “The borough has a history of creativity, but many creative people have to move away from the borough to find suitable studio space and artistic networks. There is untapped potential in the buildings in St James Street, together with experience of the partners to turn this trend around and deliver a new creative community in the heart of the conservation area.”

It is proposed to use the money together with match funding to deliver public realm improvements and offer grants for works to heritage buildings in the area, focusing on those that have been vacant for a prolonged period, for restoration of historic features, sympathetic and well-designed shop fronts, and for bringing upper floors back into use.

Further details will be announced once the level of funding is known and as plans develop.