DELAYED work to upgrade one of the main roads into a town centre will start this week.

The programme of public realm improvements will form part of a wider scheme to regenerate the lower St James’s Street area and make it a more attractive gateway into central Burnley.

At the same time essential repairs will be carried out on a bridge carrying lower St James’s Street over the River Calder known as ‘The Brig’.

The works mean the road will be closed and diversions will be in place.

They are set to be completed before the Christmas trading period.

Lancashire County Council is working with Burnley Council to develop wider, high-quality pavements and carriageway along lower St James’s Street, between Westgate and Hammerton Street.

The public realm work is due to be completed by the end of March next year.

A diversion will be in place for vehicles via Active Way, Royle Road, and Brown Street, with a shorter diversion for pedestrians via Active Way, Orchard Bridge and Calder Street. The one-way system on lower Brown Street, between its junctions with Brick Street and St James Street, will temporarily be reversed.

Two bus stops will be relocated to Bethesda Street.

Both schemes. part of a multi-million pound Burnley town centre revamp, were due to start in March but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Gordon Birtwistle, the borough council’s growth boss, said: “Lower St James’s Street is a major gateway into the town centre and these works will ensure that not only does it stay open for business as far as delivery and other heavier vehicles are concerned, but it will look the part as well.

“Further along St James’s Street the improvements to the pedestrianised area look great and present a clean, attractive, modern look to shoppers and visitors.”

Cllr Keith Iddon, the county council’s highways boss, said: “Our surveys have shown that the widenings on either side of The Brig need to be replaced to ensure the bridge retains its strength.

“We’re sorry for any disruption to businesses and people working and visiting this area, but it’s essential that we close part of St James’s Street so that it can be carried out safely.”