THE regeneration of Burnley and Pendle came under the spotlight once again when the president of the Royal Town Planning Institute came to see the area for himself.

Vincent Goodstadt met with planning chiefs in both boroughs yesterday as part of a North West tour and said he particularly wanted to visit North East Lancashire because of the challenges the area faces.

He first visited areas of Brierfield where he met with Pendle's planning manager, Andy Wiggett, and environmental health and urban renewal manager, Trevor Mitton.

Mr Wiggett said: "He looked at Brierfield housing because he wanted to see for himself the effects of the collapse of the housing market. We took him there because it is one of the first of the area development frameworks which has been prepared under the East Lancashire Market Restructuring Pathfinder. Preparation of this framework is one of the early intervention measures for which £1million has been given to East Lancashire.

"He appreciated the problems we have and what he was looking for was that we try and produce a sustainable environment with the emphasis on quality."

He then went on to see areas of Burnley, including Burnley Wood and Daneshouse and Stoneyholme, while meeting Burnley Council's planning staff.

Mr Goodstadt said: "I was particularly interested in coming to North East Lancashire and Burnley because of the challenges the town faces. People are doing a tremendous job here already but the scale of challenges they face in terms of housing renewal and regeneration and creating quality of life needs sustained effort.

"The planners who work for Burnley and Pendle are at the forefront for making that happen so that the towns can recapture the vitality and quality they used to have. I am impressed by the quality of heritage that towns like Burnley have and the way new uses are brought to them to create vitality and life."

Sue Graham, head of planning services in Burnley, said: "It is an honour that the Royal Town Planning Institute's president has come to Burnley and we are really pleased that he's come to look at the regeneration work that planning officers have spent a lot of time on."