The Burnley Bondholders scheme shows it’s not just the Clarets who are on the up
PUBLISHED: 00:01 16 June 2014
It is not just Burnley FC that is good at promotion. The people making this town tick are working to put it on the international map, writes Emma Mayoh
When the final whistle blew at Turf Moor in their promotion winning game against Wigan, it wasn’t just a sparkling moment for Burnley Football Club. It was also a big cause for celebration for the town. Manager Sean Dyche and the team will, no doubt, be celebrating their promotion to the Premier League for some months with plans to achieve even greater success next season. But there will also be a tangible benefit to the town.
Sean told Lancashire Life: ‘Promotion to the Premier League is a real boost for the town and its people. We often talk within the four walls here of a one-club mentality and it’s clear that the townsfolk of Burnley are right behind their team.
‘I think it’s fair to say that a feelgood factor can only be good news for industry and tourism within the area. Having a Premier League club really puts you on the map and hopefully the powers-that-be can exploit that and build on the town’s thriving reputation.’
It is clear Burnley as a town will be feeling the Premier League effect for much longer than the next football season. The recent win presents a new opportunity to sell Burnley as an attractive place to live, work and spend time. And there are plans to make the most of it.
For several years the people who live and work in Burnley have been developing several plans to improve their town. Last year it was named the most enterprising place in Britain on the back of the Burnley Bondholders scheme - an initiative that brings together more than 100 local firms to promote the town as a place for business. The consortium’s passion and hard work to celebrate local enterprise has attracted around £10 million to the area. It was recognised in the National Enterprise Awards for its support of small and medium sized business and for changing perceptions of Burnley. Millions of pounds of investment have been used strengthening Burnley’s manufacturing credentials. Places like the University Technical College and a town centre campus for the University of Central Lancashire specialise in training for advanced manufacturing. Burnley Bridge Business Park, the largest new development on the M65 corridor, was recently opened by Vince Cable and Knowledge Park, a commercial space aimed at engineering, manufacturing and digital business is currently being developed.
Steve Rumbelow, Burnley Council’s chief executive, said: ‘We have history in manufacturing and around the start of the recession we knew we had to play to our strengths. Advanced manufacturing was the way forward.
‘We have a lot of high-tech, aerospace and automotive firms. We had to make sure we had the right kind of support for that kind of industry. A lot of what we have done since then has been working towards doing that. We want Burnley to be the go-to place for manufacturing and we think we are on our way there.’
Later this month a new multi-million pound railway station in Manchester Road will open and the direct rail link to Manchester, following the reopening of the Todmorden Curve, will start up later this year. It is hoped this will not only make it easier for current Burnley residents to get to the city centre but it is hoped it will encourage more people to live, work and spend their leisure time in the town.
Steve said: ‘Burnley Football Club’s promotion is an amazing achievement and it is great to be a part of it. The town still hasn’t come down from it and probably won’t for a long time.
‘We have a Premier club in a premier town. The football club has been establishing itself and punching above its weight to succeed. The town has been doing the same. It is an exciting time for everyone here.’
Council bosses travelled to London to take part in a trade show designed to promote Burnley to investors who would not normally spend their money north of Watford Gap.
Steve said: ‘The key, following the event, is to get on the phones to reinforce our message that Burnley is the place to invest. We aren’t resting on our laurels, we’re just not made that way here. Events such as this will help spread the word that Burnley is open for business and a place where businesses can confidently invest.’