THE opening of Burnley's £23million Pioneer Place leisure and retail complex has been hailed as a major step forward by council bosses as they step up efforts to bring more businesses in the borough.

Authority leader Cllr Afrasiab Anwar and regeneration boss Cllr Mark Townsend have praised its impact on revitalising the local economy.

In report to Burnley's Full Council meeting on Wednesday Cllr Anwar said: "It was an absolute pleasure to attend the official opening of the Reel Cinema and Pioneer Place.

"This flagship development demonstrates what we can achieve through partnership, with a clear vision and with hard work.

""We continue to strengthen strategic relationships to drive investment into the borough to allow Burnley to continue to develop as a major force across the region."

A report to the meeting from Cllr Townsend updates colleagues on the progress of Pioneer Place: "Further to the opening of the Icaro Lounge, Starbucks have also been open for a few weeks.

"REEL cinema opened on Friday September 8.

"Nandos have completed a very high quality fit out and opened for trade on September 20.

"Unit 6 has been let to Heavenly Desserts and they have already completed their fit out.

"The business team are currently working with 25 businesses looking to relocate into the borough or expand within it.

"Some enquiries are for significant requirements exceeding 50,000 square feet.

"The team recently helped a security company relocate into the area bringing their existing 20 staff.

"Work has now begun on the new Frontier Park Business Park adjacent to Network 65. The development will see five new units constructed

"This will provide much needed space for growing businesses in the area and will help attract new businesses.

"The team are in contact with one large local operator who has shown strong interest in the site."