Demolition of Burnley landmark starts in £20m. regeneration scheme

AN impression of how the new Finsley Gate development will look. (S)
AN impression of how the new Finsley Gate development will look. (S)

AN historic Burnley landmark is being demolished to make way for a £20m. regeneration scheme which will transform a rundown canalside area close to the town centre.

Work has started on clearing Healey Royd Mill, in Finsley Gate, for a new development of 168 homes, shops, leisure and office units and community facilities.

The developers, St Modwen Properties Plc, were invited to meet HRH Prince Charles when he came to Burnley last week for an update on the transformation of the Weavers’ Triangle conservation area,

Their Finsley Gate project falls within the Triangle and HRH was delighted to hear demolition work had begun and is due to be completed by mid-December.

The Healey Royd and Finsley Gate development received outline planning permission and conservation area consent in May and St Modwen has been working with Burnley Borough Council, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and English Heritage to see it through.

The once booming Healey Royd Mill has been empty for years and in recent times been severely damaged through vandalism and looting. It is being demolished to make way for a new building of a similar size to complement the canalside area.

St Modwen says it is also trying to preserve the area’s heritage as much as possible by retaining the oldest section and external façade of the nearby Finsley Gate Mill, which housed hundreds of Burnley workers in its heyday when it was Lambert Howarth’s shoe factory, and incorporate its original 19th Century features into a new building. Other parts of the mill will have to be demolished.

Michelle Taylor, the regional director at St Modwen, said: “We are very pleased to be starting work in earnest on the regeneration this site so clearly needs. Working closely with Burnley Council, we have an approved masterplan which is supported by the Prince’s Charities and the heritage bodies.

“In the current climate, retaining the facades of Finsley Gate Mill presents a challenge, as occupiers are increasingly seeking the flexibility of modern new build developments. However, we will be working hard to market the building to suitable occupiers and are encouraged by the announcement of a major new use for Victoria Mill in the Weavers’ Triangle, which was unveiled during the Prince of Wales’ visit.” She said they hope to start marketing the development next year.

Burnley Council chief executive Steve Rumbelow said: “These works are a great step forward for the rejuvenation of the area. There was no commercial solution for Healey Royd Mill and demolishing it will pave the way for the creation of an attractive new canal-side community.”