PEARL and Barnfield Construction join Pendle Council in celebrating completion of Brierfield Mill transformation to Northlight

Proud partners who helped to transform a derelict, forgotten part of Pendle’s heritage into a £32m. arts, sports, educational and leisure venue have celebrated its triumphant completion.
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It has been over a decade since Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration (Brierfield Mill) Limited ran a national masterplan and design competition for the historic Brierfield Mill.

This week, some 12 years later, joint venture partners Barnfield Investment Properties and Pendle Borough Council celebrated the official completion.

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Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration Ltd (PEARL), was established by local construction company Barnfield and Pendle Borough Council as a means to encourage regeneration and specifically as a vehicle for the development of a community-based Arts, Culture and Enterprise Centre (the ACE centre) in Nelson.

Dignitaries before their tour of the Northlight Complex in Brierfield. Photo: Kelvin Lister-StuttardDignitaries before their tour of the Northlight Complex in Brierfield. Photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard
Dignitaries before their tour of the Northlight Complex in Brierfield. Photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard

In March 2012, Stephen Barnes, former chief executive of Pendle Borough Council, successfully negotiated to buy the historic mill for £1.5m. thanks to a 100% grant from the government’s Homes England. The mill complex was then transferred to the PEARL and the £32m. investment commenced.

The former mill is now complete with 85 two-bedroom apartments, education facilities, 103,000 sq. ft office and industrial work space, 25,000 sq. ft business storage space, leisure and cultural facilities in the iconic Grade II listed building.

PEARL invested £17.9m. in the redevelopment and a further £11.82m. was secured through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, BFC in the Community and its investors, Lancashire County Council and Nelson and Colne College.

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Tim Webber MBE, MD of Barnfield Construction and PEARL board member, said: “The first project saw us engage in a partnership with Nelson and Colne College and Lancashire County Council to bring in Lancashire Adult Learning. Having Lancashire Adult Learning at Northlight was really the anchor to the scheme.

“Latterly, Richard Sutton and Brian Nelson, former BFC director, were looking to expand and create an indoor community leisure facility, and the Leisurebox was created.”

The joint venture partners also brought in Business First office space, Store First self storage, Northlight Industries managed office space, In-Situ and FUNDA.

Tim added: “We are very proud to bring this iconic facility, and everything it comes with, to our local area. Had this iconic building not been rescued, it would have been a real detriment to the area of Brierfield and hopefully now we have made something for the residents of Pendle to be proud of.”

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Rose Rouse, chief executive of Pendle Borough Council said “The success of the project is down to the power of partnership working. All of this would have not been possible without the engagement of Homes England, Lancashire County Council, the LEP, Pendle Borough Council, Burnley FC In the Community and Nelson and Colne College.

“The project is providing a better quality of life for local people, has supported a range of local businesses, created hundreds of jobs, secured much needed market housing and widened housing choice in Pendle and regenerated a dilapidated site.”

Debbie Francis OBE, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Northlight is exactly the type of regenerative project the LEP’s Growth Deal was designed to support. Reinventing a site like Brierfield as a contemporary mixed-used scheme, featuring residential, commercial, cultural and education facilities, will bring significant benefits to both businesses and communities. It also shows how partnership working can help drive economic growth, support new jobs, and generate opportunities for residents.”