Green light for Burnley campus plan

By Ged Henderson

29 Oct 2021

Plans to expand the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Burnley campus have got the green light after receiving a multi-million-pound boost in the budget.

The successful bid of almost £20m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund means the university plan, together with two other major projects to transform Burnley, can now go ahead.

UCLan worked with Burnley Council and Burnley and Padiham MP Antony Higginbotham to submit the funding bid.

It also includes upgrades to the town’s Manchester Road railway station and improving links between the town centre and Turf Moor.

The plan is to connect expanded education facilities at the campus, through the new Pioneer Place development in the town centre and on to Burnley FC to create an economic corridor running directly from one side of the town to the other.

The successful bid aligns with the university’s ambition to increase student numbers in Burnley to 6,000 by 2031.

It includes the purchase and reconfiguration of Sandygate Mill and the creation of around 35,000 sq ft of space, incorporating a ‘Knowledge Exchange Zone’ to support local business needs, teaching and social space.

Sandygate Mill, near the 136-bed Sandygate Halls and UCLan’s state-of-the-art medical teaching centre at Victoria Mill, will be home to the campus library and Students’ Union (SU), as well as providing office space for around 30 members of staff.

The trio of UCLan buildings based around Sandygate Square will form a central campus hub for students based in Burnley.

Professor Graham Baldwin, UCLan’s vice-chancellor, said: “The government’s approval of the development plan for Burnley is a massive vote of confidence.

“Working together with partners Burnley Council and Burnley College this funding will enable us to accelerate our expansion strategy to raise young people’s aspirations in the area, respond to local employers’ skills needs and support the regeneration of Burnley town centre and the wider region it serves.

“With our student numbers in Burnley currently in the region of 1,700 we will continue to ensure there is opportunity and access to the right education pathways for everyone, no matter where they live.

“Our focus is to provide an educational offer which is relevant and practical, for instance, developing the next generation of key workers in areas such as medicine, nursing, policing and social work.

“In addition, we aim to build on our employer engagement strategy so local companies benefit from our degree apprenticeship courses in areas such as digital, cyber and management as well as access research expertise and business support programmes to improve business competitiveness and innovation.”

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