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New £50m business park in Burnley to generate 1,400 jobs
11:00am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
THE LAUNCH of a £50m business park creating up to 1,400 jobs is ‘brilliant for the people of Burnley’, according to the town’s MP.
Gordon Birtwistle said the Burnley Bridge Business Park was ‘vital’ to the area’s regeneration and one of the most important schemes in decades.
The 70-acre develop-ment at Pollard Moor, Hapton, has just been officially opened with a special ceremony more than four years after it was first touted. Mr Birtwistle said he understood several international companies had already expressed an interest in occupying the site, which is immediately next to junction 9 of the M65.
Around 1,400 ‘new and sustainable’ jobs will be created once it is completed, according to developers Eshton.
Mr Birtwistle said: “It’s brilliant for the people of Burnley to finally see the park come to fruition and become a reality.
“We’ve made really great progress since the inception of the idea and I’m really excited.
“The regeneration of the town, including the Burnley Bridge Business Park, is the best and most important work we’ve done for decades.
“Four years ago we were in the bottom ten towns in the country for unemployment, and now we’re 183 places from the bottom.
“Everything is happening in Burnley. We’re the envy of many towns in the area.
“In the context of other investment such as the University Technical College at the Weavers’ Triangle and the Todmorden Curve, it’s one of the most important projects we have.
“The jobs it will create for local people will come with good salaries. It won’t just be one of these ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ schemes.
“It’s another vital site and great news for the town.”
Burnley Council’s chief executive, Steve Rumbelow said: “The site is a prime Grade ‘A’ development, which will put Burnley firmly on the ‘key regional development sites’ list used by top commercial property agents.
“Offering the largest commercial development opportunity along the M65 corridor, with superb motorway connections, the site is attracting a great deal of interest.
“Burnley has recently been identified as one of the best towns in the northwest for business growth with over a quarter of companies in the town being identified as ‘high growth champions’.”
A bridge and access road across the Leeds-Liverpool canal, which will link the business park to the motorway, are now under construction and due to be completed within the next six months.
Phase one of the business park’s construction will see infrastructure going in, refurbishment of a 61,500 sq ft warehouse building and 29,000 sq ft of new units and it is hoped the whole park will be completed within five years.
The project was kick-started in October 2011 by a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant of £3.85 million to Eshton, the Leeds-based developers of the site.
That money, along with a £2.4m loan to Eshton from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund, secured the future of the park, after one of its initial financiers, the North West Development Agency, was abolished.
Dennis Mendoros, founder of Kelbrook firm Euravia, and member of the North West ERDF local management committee, said: “Our priority with ERDF money coming to Lancashire and within the Local Enterprise Partnership is supporting local businesses and creating local jobs.
“Burnley Bridge, with its state of the art facilities and excellent location, will do both of these things, providing a significant boost to the local economy.”
James Chapman, managing director of Eshton, said: “It is tremendous that work has now started on site. The access road goes right into the heart of the park and its construction means that Burnley Bridge Business Park can now start to welcome occupiers to this fantastic site.”
“Significantly, some larger occupiers have been looking at the site and some have been inquiring about a unit in excess of 500,000 sq ft.
“There aren’t any other sites in the East Lancashire region where you could build something like that, especially with access straight onto the motorway network.”
Burnley Council leader, Coun Julie Cooper said: “Burnley Bridge is the largest of several state-of-the art commercial developments underway in Burnley, which between them offer over 100 acres of prime business development land. Burnley is investment ready and open for business.”