The long-awaited, often-criticised, redevelopment of Burnley town centre will be complete in time for Christmas.
Council chiefs have confirmed that the £3m. project, which has seen costs spiral since work began in 2015, is expected be ready in time for the town’s Christmas lights switch-on.
The news will be welcomed by frustrated traders and shoppers who have endured months of disruption while work has progressed.
There was widespread anger in August when the Burnley Express revealed that a further £650,000 would be needed to complete the joint Lancashire County Council and Burnley Borough Council scheme. This was on top of an extra £300,000 which had already been pumped into the project.
Burnley Council deputy leader Coun. John Harbour said: “The majority of the work is now complete which should be very pleasing for businesses and shoppers.
“The scheme has not been without its difficulties but I think everyone can see how much better the town centre looks now.
“The work has made a massive improvement and I hope it will be a kickstart to attract new shops to the town.”
Work on the scheme has seen new paving and seats, trees, planters and other features installed in Curzon Street and St James’s Street.
The final part of the project, in Parker Lane, should also be complete by December.
Burnley and District Chamber of Trade chairman Mr Brian Hobbs said people should view the work through the prism of a town centre of the future.
He said: “I think our town centres are now becoming a mix of leisure and retail. The internet has meant that fewer people are doing their shopping in the town centres – the shop now is the tablet on the settee at night.
“I think Burnley is quite rightly responding to this by creating a much lighter and open space for leisure opportunities.
“I love it and think it looks brilliant. We are ahead of the game in this regard. I am seeing more tourists visiting Burnley and I think this will help.
“You have to have the right environment.”