Burnley is on the up and definitely the place to be | Rachel Bayley
It’s such a relief for all of our outdoor hospitality, but it’s also been incredibly handy for the marketing efforts at Burnley co.uk and burnley.social.
We’ve been out and about again filming in our borough and the sun always makes our videos and photographs look much better than if it was raining. Last week we were at the former Halifax Building Society in Manchester Road, which is being transformed into retail/hospitality space downstairs and luxury apartments upstairs.
The Ian Walker Property Group is behind the transformation and we caught up with Burnley lad Ian himself for an exclusive tour of the property. Not only were we impressed with the spec of the apartments, but also Ian’s story.
Ian grew up in the Casterton Avenue area and, in his own words, 'came from nothing' to build a £10 million property portfolio. He has more than 100 properties in Burnley alone and told us how the borough has undergone a transformation over the past few years.
Just like the new luxury apartments in the former Lava Ignite on Hammerton Street, Ian explained how the rental cost on his new accommodation will be hundreds of pounds cheaper than if you were to rent somewhere like Manchester. Combined with the array of cafes, bars and restaurants within walking distance, mix of high street names and independent shops and glorious countryside, it’s easy to see why living in Burnley is increasingly an attractive option.
With many people now working from home, rather than commuting into cities, the work life balance our borough provides is evident and you only have to walk through Burnley town centre to see there’s a buzz about it.
Ian recognises how vibrant Burnley town centre now is and it’s no wonder his apartments are extremely popular with the young professionals who live in them.
This sentiment is echoed by many of the businesses I’ve been out and about meeting these past couple of weeks.
I recently spoke with Shaun Singh, MD at Burnley-based Loxta Hardware, and he told me: “I didn’t think I’d build my career in Burnley at all.
"I studied mechanical engineering at Loughborough University and at the time, I don’t think Burnley was seen as a strong business hub. Even though my parents have run their business, Loxta Hardware, in Burnley since 1987, I just presumed I’d work elsewhere.”
When he graduated, he took a position at a company in Blackburn, which kept him in the area.
“With me remaining in the area, I also helped my parents further build their company and it quickly became apparent how the business reputation of Burnley had changed. The town has undergone an amazing transformation over the past ten years.
“This could be for several reasons.
"Of course, Burnley FC going into the Premier League no doubt put Burnley on the map internationally and made the town easily recognisable to our international customers.
"Plus, the reputation of the Clarets as a hard-working team allowed people to realise that the town of Burnley was hardworking too,” Shaun said.
"It's great to see so many businesses, people and families thriving here, and we look forward to how our borough continues to evolve over the coming months."