Couple behind major project to restore Burnley hotel to its former glory not deterred by calls for it to be demolished

Calls for the iconic Burnley hotel the Keirby, now re-named the Brun Lea, to be pulled down have not disheartened the couple behind it's major transformation.
Calls for the iconic Burnley hotel the Keirby, now re-named the Brun Lea, to be pulled down have not disheartened the couple behind it's major transformation.

News that a landmark hotel in Burnley could soon be restored to its former glory has met with a mixed response from residents in the town with many describing it as an 'eyesore' that should be pulled down.

And while one person described the project to restore the former Keirby Hotel as 'flogging a dead horse' another applauded the couple behind the project and called for it to made into a 'landmark' for Burnley with a 'swish and modern' look.

The reception area at the former Keirby Hotel which is in the process of being brought back to life.

The reception area at the former Keirby Hotel which is in the process of being brought back to life.

Calls from several people on social media for the building to be demolished have not dampened the spirits of Tony Hussain and his wife, Kay, who are determined to put the hotel, now re-named The Brun Lea Hotel, back onto the map.

Kay said: "At first we felt quite heartbroken by the negative comments but so many people have been positive about what we are doing and given us their support.

"One gentleman got in touch to say he attended his friend's silver wedding celebration here 15 years ago and how lovely it would be to come back for their ruby anniversary this year in November and we are confident that we can make that happen."

A former employee described the Keirby as a 'fabulous' hotel in its day because it was so central and another supporter of the project said the ballroom would be an ideal venue for Northern soul event as the ballroom has a sprung dancefloor, an enviable attraction that many new facilities cannot offer today.

The ornate gold chandelier which hangs in the main stairwell of the former Keirby Hotel in Burnley.

The ornate gold chandelier which hangs in the main stairwell of the former Keirby Hotel in Burnley.

Another commentator said that Burnley had a history of tearing down buildings which had become unfashionable which he believes has been to the detriment of the area's environmental heritage.

A man who watched the hotel being built as he walked to school said that while he was not a fan of the era's architecture it did have some 'historical value.'

Towering above the Burnley skyline with its distinctive 1960s architecture the Keirby opened for business at the start of that decade, just in time for Burnley FC to celebrate its League Championship victory. And it was one of only three four star hotels in Lancashire at the time.

The name came from the old name for the brewery that once stood on the site of the hotel.

It had been founded in 1823 by John Keirby who came to Burnley from Liverpool as a yeast merchant.

Several people have got in touch with the Hussains to tell them about family celebrations that have been held at the hotel over the years and they are hoping to gather together photographs that can be put on display.

Kay added: "We are so grateful to the people that have got in touch with their positive comments and support, it does mean a lot to us."

The couple own a thriving furniture company but wanted a new challenge so they set their sights on the 48-bedroom hotel.

They have taken over as the new tenants and are determined to make a success of the hotel that once welcomed the likes of James Bond himself, Roger Moore and the late singer, TV presenter and national treasure Cilla Black.

Work has already started on breathing new life into the iconic ballroom and piano bar that many people will recall in its heyday.

Tony has refurbished the breakfast area for guests and the hotel has won some excellent reviews on social media for its value for money, cleanliness and central location.

The hotel recently hosted a group of festival goers who attended Parklife in Manchester and found that by booking to stay in Burnley rather than the city they saved over £1,000 between them.