A NEGLECTED area of Burnley could be transformed with a "bold and ambitious" £50m regeneration plan.

An 800-capacity music venue, restaurants, offices and homes are included in Rossendale-based developer the Hurstwood Group's outline planning application for the historic Weavers' Triangle.

The site could also host The Fashion Tower - an innovative idea proposed by former record company boss Anthony Wilson and his partner Yvette Livesey - which aims to celebrate the region's textile heritage as well as providing business and education space.

Hurstwood Group's chair-man Mr Stephen Ashworth believes the proposals could do for Burnley what the successful Castlefield regeneration scheme achieved in Manchester's canal district.

The planning application to transform the listed warehouses and weaving sheds on the banks of the canal has been two years in the making. It encompasses 11 sites over six acres on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, including the former Clock Tower mill site, Lord's Printers, Slater's Terrace and a site on Wiseman Street.

Manchester architectural practice Arca has drawn up the proposal.

Mr Ashworth said: "This proposal can do for the Weavers' Triangle what the Castlefield scheme achieved in Manchester.

"It is bold, ambitious and most importantly it can be delivered. The Weavers' Triangle will once again be vibrant and impressive to live in, work in and visit.

"It will retain its unique Victorian charm and character but also offer something for 21st century living.

"There is a very exciting mix of uses included in our proposals that will spark new life into what has been a run down and neglected area for far too long.

"This is a significant step for the area, for the town of Burnley and for East Lancashire itself.

"We appreciate that there have been a number of false dawns down the years before Hurstwood started to acquire sites in this area but we have got a consensus together now that will help make things happen at last.

"Our vision fits in perfectly with the Weavers Triangle masterplan drawn up for Burnley Council and English Heritage."

Council leader Gordon Birtwistle said: "This is a very exciting project and the planning application is the next step in making the dream of transforming the canal corridor in Burnley come true.

"This scheme is another great boost for the town."

The application is subject to the council's usual planning process but, if approved, further detailed applications will follow early next year and work could start on site in the second half of 2007.

Burnley Council bosses are hoping private investors will stump up another £210 million on top of Hurstwood's investment to regenerate the rest of the Weavers' Triangle.

The funding will pay for a programme of essential repairs and refurbishment work to historic buildings in the conservation area, which is expected to start in early 2007 and will run for five years.

The area was once at the heart of Burnley's textile industry. It is made up of weaving sheds, spinning mills, foundries and warehouses from the Industrial Revolution - some still in use as business units.