A NEW town centre development to provide health and leisure facilities on the same site would be the first of its kind in the country.

Health and council bosses want to use the site of St Peter's car park to build a state-of-the-art primary care facility combined with a leisure centre which would replace the Thompson Centre.

Plans to pull down the car park, replace the existing St Nicholas' Health Centre and Burnley Business Centre are set to go out to consultation. The site covers 3.3acres and proposals would involve demolishing all buildings currently on site.

The centre would house a new swimming pool, sports hall, squash courts and gym as well as health facilities including five GP surgeries, pharmacy, physiotherapy services, a health education suite and out-patient clinic.

Other facilities would include a caf, crche, child development centre, dental and podiatry services, health visitors and district nurses.

The cost is not being revealed yet, although further details on finances may be released at a meeting of the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Primary Care Trust next Wednesday when the plans will be discussed.

The scheme is being put forward by LIFT, a public/private partnership aimed at rejuvenating health care across East Lancashire. New health centres are also on track to open in Bacup and Nelson next year. The cost of the scheme is expected to be shared by LIFT, Burnley and the PCT.

Peter Sellars, head of primary care development at the PCT, said: "No one else is doing anything like this in the country by linking these types of facilities. It is a very exciting project."

Councillors agreed in principle earlier this year to pull down the 500-space St Peter's car park after a report revealed it could cost more than £1m to repair.

A Burnley Borough Council spokesman said: "This is an exciting and ambitious scheme that will bring huge benefits to Burnley. This building would put health and exercise side by side, right in the heart of the town centre. It will give Burnley a high quality facility easily accessible to everyone as well as helping to develop that part of the town centre, attracting more people and bringing knock-on benefits."