Dream to save the Empire receives an early festive boost

The former Empire Theatre in Burnley which conservationists have now moved a step closer to saving and restoring to its former glory.
The former Empire Theatre in Burnley which conservationists have now moved a step closer to saving and restoring to its former glory.

Conservationists, who are campaigning to restore one of Burnley’s last surviving theatres, were delivered an early Christmas present this week that will take them a step closer to achieving their dream.

A viability study carried out by surveyors on the former Empire Theatre has come up with positive results which allows campaigners to move on to the next step of the architectural planning phase which will also give them the opportunity to apply for funding.

A spokesman for the Burnley Empire Theatre Trust committee (BETT) said: “It is now a case of how and when we can move forward rather than if we can.

“The second phase will go on to detail how the project is viable, what it will cost and how we move forward towards restoration and partnerships.

“We are also hoping that we can reach out to people who want to be involved as the project moves on, whether it’s fundraising or the restoration itself - we do see this as a project to benefit Burnley as a whole.”

Work will now begin on the detailed costings of the massive project that will restore the 122-year-old former theatre and cinema to its former glory.

Members of BETT have been working tirelessly for months against the clock to save the Grade Two listed building which was designed by the renowned Victorian architect Bertie Crewe.

A bid for funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund and the National Lottery is also being made. A series of fund raising events have been held, but as initial estimates stand at around £20m to renovate the building, which has been empty for around 60 years, there is still a long way to go.

For information contact BETT on Facebook/The Burnley Empire Theatre Trust, Twitter @BurnleyEmpire by email to saveme@burnleyempire theatretrust.co.uk or www.burnleyempire theatretrust.co.uk.