£2m. boost for canal scheme

AMBITIOUS PLANS: Canal and River Trust enterprise manager Nick Smith.
AMBITIOUS PLANS: Canal and River Trust enterprise manager Nick Smith.

A restuarant and rental cottage could help to breathe new life into a neglected but historic canal wharf in Burnley’s Weavers’ Triangle conservation area.

Finsley Gate Wharf, known locally as Mile Wharf, is to be restored by the Canal and River Trust, thanks to £2m. of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

A boat repair yard, restaurant, rental cottage and moorings could be created, following emergency repair work.

Canal and River Trust enterprise manager Nick Smith said: “The impressive restoration of the Weavers’ Triangle area has attracted national attention, including visits from the Queen and our patron Prince of Wales.

“This wonderful collection of historic canal buildings have been vacant for the last 15 years and both the Trust and the HLF are very keen to see these historic buildings preserved and brought back into use again as a commercial enterprise.”

Mile Wharf is one of the oldest wharves on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and includes three listed warehouses, a listed canal cottage, outbuilding, former blacksmith forge and boat slipway, dating from between 1700 and 1830.

A building restoration schedule, business plan and an activity plan to develop educational and volunteering opportunities at the site will also be carried out, but must be assessed to secure the full grant of £2m.

Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, Sara Hilton said: “We recognise the huge financial challenges facing historic buildings like those at Finsley Gate. Our Heritage Enterprise funding will plug the financial gap to enable Finsley Gate to become a productive part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal again.”

Chairman of the Trust’s North West Waterways Partnership Steve Rumbelow said: “The grant is great news. It will enable us to breathe new life into an important canalside site in Burnley, complementing the wider heritage regeneration activity and partnership working which is in full swing.”