LETTER: Tourism is the way forward for Burnley

WHAT we see now is a town that has evolved from a hugely labour intensive workforce as miners and weavers - once the preferred selection of the industrial investor, the rich supply of coal to fire the steam engines to drive the mill looms and the canal to transport the produce.

Once the downturn in the demand for the products occurred, due to overseas competition and speedier transport routes, the established infrastructure was ideal for the engineering sector to take advantage of, as was the availability of a large pool of labour who were used to living economically in terraced houses. The town developed into one of the finest engineering bases in the world. Once again the town started to lose out again to overseas competitions for a variety of economic reasons.

We have witnessed a huge clearance programme of terraced houses and the demoliton of Trafalgar Flats, a social experiment of the 1960s and the provision of state at the art education facilities. The town has suffered from the portrayed image of massive unemployment, poorly paid jobs and low social standards with a higher rate of crime.

The Government has injected large amounts of cash in an attempt to bring us up to date with the rest of the country. Some of the better natural elements of Burnley are its locations as central in the UK with excellent road links. The people’s character I find second to none. In all of the places I have been, never have I found a more accommodating, humorous, genuine, vibrant community of which I am proud to live in. The natural surrounding beauty which is a great asset has never really been capitalised on. This untapped resource could, I feel, be the key to the rise in the fortunes of the town. I think instead of looking to the past we need planners with vision and drive. The future is out there to be shaped and great opportunities are there. Tourism, I am convinced, is the way forward. The heritage element is alright to a point but it is not the be all and end all.

To bring in substantial numbers of tourists a whole range of facilities would have to be provided, attractive accommodation, quality retail outlets, rail link to Manchester, a quality open market like Bury. If enough momentum could be achieved this would attract investment and interest. With the current problems in the world I think people will look at the home option if quality is available here. To achieve the goals it will take a monumental shift in attitude. Considering the known facts I don’t think the mountain is too high to climb.

Andrew Hennessy

Rosehill Road, Burnley