'Student village' plan for Burnley in preparation for thousands of new students

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Exciting plans for a £9m. student village in the historic Weavers’ Triangle have been drawn up as Burnley prepares to become a significant university town in the coming years.

The proposed development, to house the thousands of extra students expected to study at UCLan in the future, will be located on council-owned land next to Sandygate Square, Burnley.

It forms the next phase of the 'On the Banks' development that the council has been delivering as a joint venture with Barnfield Investment Properties, the development arm of Barnfield Construction Limited.

Coun. Mark Townsend, leader of the council, said: “It is well documented that having a university campus helps a place to thrive.

“The evidence shows that universities have a positive social and economic impact on a local area. UCLan’s expansion plans for Burnley would be the envy of many other councils.

"UCLan has already made a significant investment in Victoria Mill and teaching resources in Burnley to deliver its growth. We want to maximise the ‘student pound’ and the economic benefits that students will bring, so the council has a role to play in making the town attractive to students. Good quality accommodation is crucial.”

Under the plans, the council will receive an income from rent, and UCLan will run the facility on the council’s behalf.

A planning application setting out the design of the accommodation is expected in the coming weeks. If construction goes ahead, the scheme will be another milestone in the transformation of the historic canalside area.

Chairman of UCLan David Taylor said: “Our aim is to provide students with a guarantee of value for money accommodation. Our partnership with Burnley Council will provide a safe, comfortable living environment and a vibrant, inclusive halls community. This development will be key to encouraging students to study with UCLan in East Lancashire.”

A decision will be taken at a meeting of the full council on December 19th on the council’s investment.

If councillors at the meeting back the proposal, and if the subsequent planning application is successful, work on the 139-bed building will begin in March 2019, with completion expected by Autumn 2020.

Tim Webber, chairman of Barnfield Investment Properties, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the council and UCLan on this project. It is the next step in the long-term plans to create a high quality development at On the Banks. UCLan’s base Victoria Mill is a building we’re extremely proud of and it’s great to see it back in use.”

UCLan expects to grow student numbers at the campus from 400 to 4,000 by 2025.