A WORLD-renowned heritage expert has been enlisted, under the direction of Prince Charles, to breathe new life into Burnley’s Weavers’ Triangle regeneration.

Sir Neil Cossons has been at the helm of the Greenwich Maritime Museum and London Science Museum, and is a former chairman of English Heritage.

And now he will chair the steering group responsible for reinvigorating blueprints for the former cotton industry heartland, on the outskirts of Burnley town centre.

Sir Neil was handpicked for the role by Bryan Gray, chairman of the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), following a meeting with the Prince of Wales at Clarence House just over a year ago.

The announcement comes following a number of setbacks for the beleaguered Weavers' Triangle masterplan.

Property market woes have caused main developer Hurstwood to shelve its long-awaited homes, business and leisure blueprints for the former cotton industry heartland.

And town hall sources say St Modwen has "mothballed" its prospective residential and commercial scheme for Finsley Gate and Healey Royd Mills.

Only British Waterways' planned redevelopment of Finsley Wharf is a viable scheme for the forseeable future, councillors have been told.

Sir Neil’s arrival also comes as Burnley council looks set to approve a new project manager for the regeneration scheme, on a package of £53,000 per year.

Funding from the NWDA will pay for the five-year assignment, according to a report set to be discussed by Burnley council's executive.

Sir Neil said that the new post would help to regenerate the area. He said: “The Weavers' Triangle stands out as an area of striking character and distinctiveness. It is an area with enormous potential for regeneration, capable of transforming the urban landscape and enabling a neglected historic area to make a real contribution to the life, the vitality and the economy of inner Burnley.”

Fresh interest is also being sought from the private sector for the site, bounded by Westgate, Trafalgar Street and Sandygate, when the current economic crisis recedes.

Bryan Gray said: “We needed the right sort of leadership and I had worked with Sir Neil on another project so I thought I would go right to the top, and get one of the leading figures in historic regeneration.”

Council leader Coun Gordon Birtwistle added: “This is a real coup for Burnley and he should help us to get things going with Weavers’ Triangle.”

Council economic development and regeneration head Mike Cook is remaining upbeat about the masterplan.

The new project manager's role will be to support the working group’s hopes and dreams.