Burnley Council’s executive has recommended that the council invest in a major leisure development at Curzon Street. A final decision on whether to back the scheme will take place at a meeting of the full council on 19th December.
The scheme is to be known as Pioneer Place. The development would involve the relocation of Reel Cinema from Manchester Road. A supermarket is expected to move to the existing cinema site.
By relocating the cinema, the site will attract new restaurant and retail outlets. This approach to town centre development is replicated in many cities, with the increase in visitors supporting existing town centre businesses during the day and in the evening.
An assessment of the scheme has estimated that 300 jobs will be created, and £13 million will be added to the local economy each year. In addition to the cinema, the proposal includes seven new restaurant units and two new retail units, a high-quality public square and 128 car parking spaces. The council expects to receive a planning application in January, with the design of the scheme subject to approval by the planning committee.
The total cost of both the Pioneer Place development and the Manchester Road site is approximately £26 million. The council will receive an income from rents on the back of its capital investment in the scheme.
Councillor Asif Raja, executive member for economy and growth said: “Developments like this offer something for everyone. It will attract more visitors to the town which means more spend and a greater buzz about the place. If we don’t take actions like this to grow the local economy, we risk losing out to other places that do.”
Lancashire County Council is also backing the scheme. County councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader at county hall, said: “We have committed £3.2 million towards this scheme. This is an excellent example of the two councils working together with the private sector to further transform Burnley town centre.”
Councillor Mark Townsend, leader of the borough council, added: “I will encourage the council to take a considered view of what this investment means. We should make our investment at the point when the level of risk is right. That point comes when enough businesses commit.
“That said, I am excited by the potential of this scheme and the long-term benefit to the borough. It will be a big draw to the town for both residents and visitors. Compared with other town centres, Burnley has bucked the trend. It is getting better while others are struggling. Town centres are the economic and social heart of communities- Burnley's town centre is on the up and I want to take it to the next level.”
Councillor Raja said “Another added benefit of Pioneer Place is that it will help to attract more students to come and study in Burnley, which in turn will generate further economic benefits for the borough.”