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Council to build student accommodation to boost 'university town' plans

Release date: 
Thursday, 29 November, 2018

Burnley Council is set to develop a purpose-built student accommodation facility in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Barnfield Investment Properties, if councillors approve a proposal being put forward by the council’s executive committee.

The development will cost approximately £9 million. Under the plans, the council will receive an income from rent, and UCLan will run the facility on the council’s behalf.

The proposed development will be located on council-owned land next to Sandygate Square, Burnley. It forms the next phase of the On the Banks development that the council has been delivering as a joint venture with Barnfield Investment Properties, the development arm of Barnfield Construction Limited.

Councillor Mark Townsend, leader of the council, said: “It is well documented that having a university campus helps a place to thrive. The evidence shows that universities have a positive social and economic impact on a local area.

“UCLan’s expansion plans for Burnley would be the envy of many other councils. The council established a close working relationship with UCLan to help secure their commitment. UCLan has already made a significant investment in Victoria Mill and teaching resources in Burnley to deliver its growth. We want to maximise the ‘student pound’ and the economic benefits that students will bring, so the council has a role to play in making the town attractive to students. Good quality accommodation is crucial.”

A planning application setting out the design of the accommodation is expected in the coming weeks. If construction goes ahead, the scheme will be another milestone in the transformation of the historic canalside area.

Chair of UCLan David Taylor CBE said: ““Our aim is to provide students with a guarantee of value for money accommodation. Our partnership with Burnley Council will provide a safe, comfortable living environment and a vibrant, inclusive halls community. This development will be key to encouraging students to study with UCLan in East Lancashire.”

Councilllor Asif Raja said: “This partnership with UCLan is a major opportunity to further the borough’s economic interests. We need to make the most of it so that the borough can keep moving forward.”

Tim Webber MBE, Chairman of Barnfield Investment Properties, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the council and UCLan on this project.  It is the next step in the long-term plans to create a high quality development at On the Banks. UCLan’s base Victoria Mill is a building we’re extremely proud of and it’s great to see it back in use.”

A decision will be taken at a meeting of the full council on 19th December on the council’s investment.

If councillors at the meeting back the proposal, and if the subsequent planning application is successful, work on the 139-bed building will begin in March 2019, with completion expected by Autumn 2020.

UCLan expects to grow student numbers at the campus from 400 to 4,000 by 2025.

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