Over the last five years or so the industrial market has out performed many areas in the region with the first phase of Burnley Bridge now developed out and occupiers include Exertis and Fagan & Whalley.
Burnley Bridge continues to drive forward the Burnley industrial and logistics market with Burnley Bridge South being allocated in the local plan for development. This 32 acre new site located immediately off Junction 9 of the M65 is already generating strong occupier interest and a masterplan planning application is currently being worked up and will be lodged imminently.
To the North East corner of phase one of Burnley Bridge, Titanium Park is also ready for development. This 9 acre site can accommodate units up to 135,000 sq.ft. The challenge for Burnley will be in the next five to ten years when these phases of Burnley Bridge are completed. It is where Burnley will then provide opportunities for further inward investment for the next ten to twenty years.
Elsewhere in the borough the original phase of Vision Park is now almost fully let with a further phase under consideration by the developer Trebor. As with elsewhere in the region there is a pent up demand for quality industrial and warehousing accommodation. This is now being reflected in record prices being achieved for good quality existing stock within the market. This was recently illustrated with the sale of a 42,500 sq.ft. within the popular Network 65 Business Park being completed in quick time with best and final offers being requested and a strong price being achieved.
There is now the need for speculative development to be considered which will help free up the market and allow companies to move and grow within the Burnley area.
Away from the industrial market there are developments coming forward that will likely boost the leisure sector with the University of Central Lancashire acquiring Victoria Mill late last year. University student numbers in the town will rise from a current level of approximately 400 to potentially 4,000 by 2025. This will undoubtedly improve the leisure sector bring forward developments on the back of the need for student accommodation.
Barnfield Construction have commenced a student scheme on Sandygate Square. The 136 bedroom student scheme is well under way which will also provide three commercial units within the development. The projected increase in student numbers will benefit the immediate vicinity.
A further boost for the town centre is the announcement last year of the funding for the Pioneer Leisure Development which is to be undertaken by Maple Grove Developments. The site sits between Charter Walk Shopping Centre and Burnley College and bringing this site forward is crucial to improving the towns leisure economy.
When the scheme does come forward then Burnley will be able to provide a more complete leisure offer to the area.
In conclusion the prospects of Burnley remain positive with substantial developments in the pipeline for the next five to ten years. The high street is tough at the moment but with the additional student numbers and improvement in the leisure offering there should be a considerable benefit to the town centre.
Speculative industrial development would be beneficial for the town but the availability of prime sites adjacent to the motorway junction for offering design and build opportunities keep Burnley at the forefront of the industrial market along the M65 corridor.