Burnley means business | Rachel Bayley

It’s my second column and it’s actually come around quicker than I realised, as I thought it was a monthly column, but turns out it’s weekly, so here I am. Again.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 9:45 am
Burnley Brand Manager Rachel Bayley

Last week I spoke about the roadmap out of lockdown and true to my word, I’ve booked a table on the terrace at Wilfred’s at Crow Wood Hotel.

I don’t care if it’s cold and raining, I’ll be there in my huge padded coat, hiding whatever outfit I’ll have spent weeks planning in excitement that I’ve actually left the house. I’ve also had my Covid vaccine.

I was surprised at being called so early, being a healthy thirtysomething (I’m knocking two years off since I’ve had to spend two birthdays in lockdown).

But it just goes to show the speed at which the UK is rolling out the vaccine programme and it gives me hope that the end is in sight for having to stay at home.

It’s also exciting to see how our venues are being flexible to the different roadmap dates. Pop-up marquees and pre-booking beer garden tables are just some of the things I’ve spotted online, and I really do hope we can get things back on track.

It really does go to show that Burnley means business. Did you know that…

- Burnley hosts 2.6 million tourism visits annually (in normal times, of course)?

- There are 9,250 retail, leisure and tourism jobs in Burnley?

- We’re the second most successful UK town for digital jobs growth?

- We have 7,000 advanced manufacturing and engineering employees – which makes up 20% of our total jobs?

- There’s a 37-acre engineering and aerospace hub at Innovation Drive?

- UCLan plans to have 4,000 students in Burnley by 2025?

- We’re home to the top sixth form centre in England? (Burnley College)

A world of vibrant sectors

I’ll hold my hands up here and admit that until I became Burnley Place Brand Manager, I didn’t quite appreciate just how many vibrant sectors there are in the borough. We’re home to one of the world’s largest aerospace clusters, which is pretty impressive when you think about it.

Our digital sector is booming. Between 2014-2015 alone we saw annual growth in digital jobs of 162%.

The figure for the rest of Great Britain was 2% and 30% for the North West, so 162% truly is incredible.

I can only imagine as digital becomes even more important and our university graduate numbers grow, how our digital and creative sector will thrive even more so.

I appreciate a lot of us have been home most of the time, but if you have travelled in Burnley centre recently, you may have noticed the new student accommodation at Sandygate.

Boasting 136 beds, this joint venture between Burnley Council and Barnfield Investment Properties really cracked on during the first lockdown and it’s a huge credit to those involved that it was open and ready to welcome the first UCLan students in September 2020.

And with recent news that work will start this summer at the new Pioneer Place retail and leisure site on Curzon Street, it’s clear that Burnley truly is ready and open for business.