Plans for Burnley leisure complex Pioneer Place set to be given green light

Burnley's multi-million pound Pioneer Place leisure complex will be considered by councillors next week.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:44 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:46 pm

Officers have recommended the council's Development Control Committee approve the highly-anticipated town centre development.

But they want strict conditions imposed over potential flooding, mining subsidence, traffic flow and archaeological investigations.

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Work expected to start on Burnley's 'fantastic' Pioneer Place this summer
How Pioneer Place could look in Burnley town centre

The scaled-down project includes plans for a seven-screen Reel cinema and 2,931square metres of leisure and retail floorspace across five units with a new public space and two car parks.

Located on the former Pioneer Co-op site in Curzon Street, the £21m. scheme hopes to attract national and independent food and drink operators with Nando’s remaining a target big-name chain.

Maple Grove Developments hope to start work on the complex this summer and complete it by spring 2023 if the post-coronavirus blueprint is approved on Thursday.

It expects the scheme to create 120 permanent jobs.

A planning officers report to councillors says of the application, a slimmed-down version of one approved in January last year: “It is widely known and reported that many town centres are struggling as a result of a change in the way consumers meet their shopping needs.

“The growth of online shopping and home deliveries has resulted in the closure of some well-known national stores.

“It is encouraging to see a new wave of cinema-led regeneration in town centres such as Stockport, Chorley and Preston.

“Cinemas now offer a range of content including theatre shows, operas and conferencing appropriate for a range of ages throughout the day and into the evening.

“For these reasons food and drink operators are particularly interested in locating adjacent to new cinemas in town centres as visitors often meet with friends/ families for a drink or a meal.

“This operational synergy has has generated interest in the development from national and local food and beverage operators.

“This is a significant development for the town creating a critical mass such that it will attract visitors from the across the borough and likely on a sub-regional level.”

Burnley Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “There has been significant interest from national food and beverage chains. Nando’s has expressed interest in the past. Until the pandemic is over, the application is approved and spades are in the ground we will not know who is actually coming.”

The officers recommend attaching 26 conditions to any approval after concerns were raised about asbestos contamination of the land, possible underground mine workings, potential flooding from the River Brun which runs through the 3.7 acre site, and the development’s impact on nearby roads.