A historic canal wharf in Burnley is set to be transformed into an exciting leisure, education and community attraction.
Finsley Gate Wharf with its collection of Grade II listed buildings – three warehouses, a canal cottage, outbuilding and blacksmith forge – will become a tourist destination offering boat trips and boat hire, a café and visitor accommodation, as well as a function room and learning area for community and school groups.
Canal and River Trust, the charity that cares for the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, has received planning permission to carry out the work.
Ian Sprott, development surveyor at Canal and River Trust, said: “Approval of our Finsley Gate development plans is great news and we’re excited to see this important heritage site be transformed into an attractive visitor destination and a hub of activity for the local community.
“With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Burnley Council, Finsley Gate Wharf Ltd and the local community, this promises to be an exciting space where people can learn about the canal and enjoy the fantastic wellbeing benefits of spending time on or near the water.”
The Trust’s vision for the site, known locally as Mile Wharf, started to take shape three years ago, with a successful Heritage Lottery Fund grant for emergency repair work.
Since then, the Trust has secured a further £2.2m. from HLF’s Heritage Enterprise Programme and this week planning permission was granted by Burnley Council.
Work is expected to start this summer and should take around a year to complete.
Burnley Council chief executive Mick Cartledge added: “This scheme will breathe new life into an historic part of the borough and help create a regeneration link between the Weavers’ Triangle and Burnley Wood.
“The development builds on other recent activity in this area of the town, including the acquisition of Victoria Mill (formerly the University Technical College) by UCLan and the new canalside Bridgewalk apartments.
“The new development will draw in more visitors to Burnley and tap into the economic and tourism potential of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.”
Glenn Davidson and Lee Shepherd, directors at Finsley Gate Wharf Ltd, said: “Regenerating and preserving this important piece of British heritage has been paramount for the Canal and River Trust and Finsley Gate Wharf Ltd, and with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Burnley Council, we have finally made it.
“With planning permission approved we can now start work on the restoration of the site and create a sustainable leisure space that will be central to Burnley’s future.
“Finsley Gate Wharf will soon become a major tourist destination that will showcase the important part this area played in the industrial revolution and offer a host of leisure activities and events that will make the people of Burnley proud.”
Find out more about the Canal and River Trust’s work and how you can get involved with the waterway at the heart of your community at: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk