National media needs to stop promoting age-old stereotype of rundown Burnley | Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar column

You will have seen the fantastic news on Wednesday that our bid of almost £20 million of Levelling Up funding has been approved by the Government.

Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar

This was made possible thanks to the research and work undertaken by our Officers in collaboration with a multiplicity of partners in the planning and preparation of the Town Centre and Canalside Masterplan.

Great news for Burnley and it follows on from the council’s recent acquisition of Charter Walk, work on lower St James’s Street Heritage Action Zone and the ongoing work on Pioneer Place.

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All this means Burnley town centre continues to adapt, develop, diversify and prosper, transforming the face of Burnley, making it more attractive to residents, visitors, shoppers and investors.

Realising our vision of becoming a vibrant university town.

None of this would be possible if we had not built over a number of decades strong relationships with our partners Burnley FC, Burnley Bondholders, Lancashire County Council, UCLan and Burnley College.

Together we have a vision and belief in what Burnley’s future can and will be.

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Just last week I had the pleasure of addressing the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership annual conference, setting out our plans and the importance of our town centre within those plans - a clear vision for the future.

That despite uncertain financial times Burnley continues to punch above its weight and our partners back us in our aspirations.

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So it is disappointing to find national media continuing, if not actively promoting, the age-old stereotype of a rundown, dying ex-industrial town without direction.

We have our share of troubled souls, what borough doesn’t.

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But the council is not to be found wanting in its support of the most vulnerable, at least where they wish to be helped, alongside other voluntary and statutory organisations in tackling mental health, poverty and homelessness.

It would make a nice change if, for once, national media could run a more rounded story.