BBC slammed for showing Burnley ‘desolation’

HRH Prince Charles during his visit to the Weavers' Triangle in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons
HRH Prince Charles during his visit to the Weavers' Triangle in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons

BURNLEY Council bosses have blasted the BBC for its portrayal of the town during this week’s visit of Prince Charles.

The heir to the throne was making his fourth visit to Burnley in recent years, the town he has taken to his heart, in what was considered by all to be a massive boost.

Prince Charles visited the Weavers’ Triangle, the historic collection of former cotton mills due to be redeveloped, and also met representatives of local sustainability groups, an issue close to his heart.

But the BBC Six O’Clock News programme, broadcast nationally following the Royal visit on Tuesday, has brought condemnation from council bosses who felt Burnley was portrayed in a negative light.

The nation’s broadcaster carried scene shots of rundown areas and highlighted that Burnley was the 12th most deprived district in the country.

Home affairs editor Mark Easton said: “No one can accuse Prince Charles of choosing an easy place to turn around. Burnley was struggling even in the boom years.

“Windows and doors decorated to disguise the desolation. The Prince was shown the inevitable supermarket trolley dredged from the old mill town’s canal.”

But Burnley Council chief executive Mr Steve Rumbelow has hit back at what he sees as deliberately negative coverage.

He said: “The most disappointing and annoying part of the day was the coverage on the BBC national news. The multi-million pound investment in the regeneration of the Weavers’ Triangle will create a significant number of jobs and revitalise the area. There was no mention of that – instead the BBC took a ‘tabloid’ approach and put out a negative story that painted Burnley in a poor light.

“We will be writing to the BBC and setting out our concerns about the national coverage, which contrasted with the approach of the regional BBC.”

Mr Rumbelow said the report was at odds with what was otherwise a great day.

He added: “There was a really positive vibe to the whole day and it was great it coincided with the council’s success in securing Pennine Lancashire’s newest university, a University Technical College to be based in Victoria Mill, where the Royal event took place.

“Around 150 local and regional business leaders, and senior representatives from funding agencies and community sector organisations, were at the event and were impressed with what they saw.

“His Royal Highness and his charities have been very supportive of the council’s key programmes and the Prince’s keen interest in Burnley has afforded us the opportunity to have some serious discussions with key individuals about the next steps in our regeneration plans.”