A MAJOR East Lancashire cotton mill redevelopment has welcomed its first residents.

Two couples have now moved into their flats at the £32million Northlight complex in Brierfield.

The scheme for offices, apartments, leisure and culture has been under way since 2016 and has already seen space used for a new headquarters for Lancashire Adult Learning and the creation of the Leisure Box with Burnley FC in the Community.

Now Ken and Carol Jefferson and Jennifer Collings and Johannes Schoeman have been handed the keys to their luxury flats, two of 40 two-bedroom apartments over three floors in the current phase of the project to transform the empty Brierfield Mill.

It also sees the creation of a ground floor complex of 26 offices.

The flagship project of PEARL- a joint venture between Pendle Council and Barnfield Investment Properties - will now move onto a further 40 apartments with 20 of those completed already reserved.

A new call centre is also on the cards.

Mr Jefferson said: “We’re so thrilled and excited. We know we’re going to be very happy in our little oasis.”

Mrs Collings said: “My partner and I are moving back from South Africa and this will be our first home back in the UK in 37 years.

“For me there was no question in why we chose Northlight, Jannie uses a wheelchair and there is just so much easy access within the complex.”

Tracy Clavell-Bate, head of development for the Barnfield Group, said: “We looked at luxury apartments in cities such as Manchester and equalled, if not bettered, the chic, stylish and high-quality living on offer.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This redevelopment of what was the largest redundant mill complex in Lancashire is really putting Brierfield on the map.”

Councillor David Whipp, deputy leader of Pendle Council, said: “The quality of the restoration is exceptional.”

The Northlight scheme is supported by £7.45m from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, £2.15m from Lancashire County Council and £1.5m from Pendle Council.