Halls of residence open as Burnley makes next step in becoming a university town

New student accommodation that forms part of ambitious plans to turn Burnley into a university town have been officially handed over to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The 136-bed building in Sandygate provides high-quality accommodation for students attending the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) facilities in the town, supported by space for common rooms, a laundry, and a study/resources room, as well as three units for use as restaurants, cafes or offices.

VIP guests were invited to a preview event attended by representatives from UCLan, Burnley Council and Barnfield Construction.

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It marks a major milestone in the drive to transform Burnley into a university town, and part of UCLan’s ambitious plans to increase student numbers in the town from 400 to 4,000 by 2025.

Mick Cartledge (Burnley Council chief executive); Coun. Charlie Briggs (Burnley Council leader); Zhurram Zulfi (Barnfield Construction project manager); Tim Webber (managing director Barnfield Construction); Michael Ahern (UCLan chief Information and Infrastructure Officer) and Coun. Wajid Khan (Mayor of Burnley);

The accommodation is across the Leeds and Liverpool Canal from UCLan’s state-of-the-art medical teaching centre at Victoria Mill.

Council leader Coun. Charlie Briggs said: “Burnley has an ambition to become a university town and the launch of this new student accommodation is a major step forward to realising that.

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“Just as the students who will occupy these apartments are starting out on an exciting new chapter in their lives, so is Burnley. It’s wonderful to see this student facility opening after seeing it take shape on our town’s skyline for the past 18 months. It’s just the start of a transformation that will bring massive benefits to our borough’s economy and vibrancy.”

UCLan’s Michael Ahern, chief information and infrastructure officer, added: “It’s a really exciting day in the development of the University of Central Lancashire’s Burnley campus. This fantastic new accommodation facility is essential for building a university town which will attract a new generation of talent and enable us to recruit nationally and internationally.

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“Crucial to our plans has been the first-class support and encouragement we’ve received from the entire Burnley community. By continuing to work together, meeting the existing and emerging skills’ needs of Burnley and East Lancashire, we can achieve our collective vision of driving prosperity and quality of life for the people of Burnley, Lancashire and the north west as a whole.”

Tim Webber, managing director of Barnfield Construction, said “We are absolutely delighted to have delivered the high-quality project on time, despite the worldwide pandemic.

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“We’re so proud of the hard work and unwavering effort and dedication the team have shown, to deliver what will be a fantastic addition to the projects already acheived, as part of the ongoing On The Banks development.”

The accommodation was developed in partnership by the council, UCLan and Barnfield Investment Properties. The building was designed by local architects Campbell Driver Partnership.

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It also forms another important milestone in the transformation of the wider historic canalside On The Banks development that the council has been delivering as a joint venture with Barnfield Investment Properties.