New funding will help preserve Towneley Hall for generations to come | Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column

One of the things that makes our borough such a fantastic place is the rich culture, history, and heritage we have.
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We were one of the centres of the industrial revolution, powered the UK through our mining industry, and through theatres like Burnley Empire brought in people from far and wide.

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Locally we have more than 170 listed buildings in our borough, but the jewel in the crown must be Towneley Hall.

Towneley Hall, Burnley.Towneley Hall, Burnley.
Towneley Hall, Burnley.
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It, along with the surrounding park, is home to so much of our local life now. From the annual bonfire to new events like Retro in the Park.

But the hall is not what it once was. For years we have all seen the articles about the sums of money that need to be spent to restore it, and so when I got elected in 2019 one of the first things I did was visit to see for myself the scale of the challenge.

Whilst there have been repairs conducted to fix immediate issues it was clear that a significant injection of funding would be needed to stop the building from falling into serious disrepair.

Last month the government announced a major investment in culture and heritage outside of the Southeast, with Burnley specifically identified as one of just 100 priority places for ‘Levelling Up for Culture’.

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This builds on funding received in the last few years, including the Heritage Action Zone on Lower St James’ and support for organisations like Burnley Youth Theatre.

And this week the government committed another £890,000 through the Arts Council’s Museum Estates and Development Fund to the renovation works needed at Towneley Hall.

This will allow for a re-roofing scheme to get the Hall watertight, repairs to the incredible ceiling in the Great Hall and treatment of dry rot in areas like the art gallery.

Getting to this point has been a huge team effort including the brilliant team at Towneley Hall and council officers, and I’m pleased to have played my part in lobbying government and Arts Council to secure this funding.

We can all look ahead knowing this asset will be preserved for future generations, remaining at the heart of our borough.