Stakeholders celebrate completion of landmark Pendle project

By Tim Aldred

12 Feb 2024

Norrthlight Complete

Twelve years on from Pendle Borough Council acquiring a historic mill, it's £32m renovation into a mixed-use development is now complete.

In March 2012, Stephen Barnes, former chief executive of Pendle Borough Council, successfully negotiated to buy property with a 100 per cent grant from the government’s Homes England.

The mill complex was then transferred to the PEARL - a joint venture between the council and Barnfield Investment Properties - and the £32m investment commenced.

Northlight is complete with 85 two-bedroom apartments, education facilities, 103,000 sq ft office and industrial work space, 25,000 sq ft business storage space, leisure and cultural facilities in the iconic Grade II listed building. 

PEARL invested £17.9m in the redevelopment and a further £11.82m was secured through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, BFC in the Community and its investors, Lancashire County Council and Nelson & Colne College. 

Tim Webber, managing director of Barnfield Construction and PEARL board member, said: "We started work on Northlight in 2016 with the winning masterplan. The first project was the offices, we engaged in a partnership with Nelson & Colne College and Lancashire County Council to bring in Lancashire Adult Learning, who now occupy the building. Having Lancashire Adult Learning at Northlight was really the anchor to the scheme.

"Latterly, Richard Sutton and Brian Nelson, former BFC Director were looking to expand and create an indoor community leisure facility, and the Leisurebox was created.”

The joint venture partners also brought in Business First office space, Store First self storage, Northlight Industries managed office space, In-Situ and FUNDA.

Tim added “We are very proud to bring this iconic facility, and everything it comes with, to our local area. Had this iconic building not been rescued, it would have been a real detriment to the area of Brierfield and hopefully now we have made something for the residents of Pendle to be proud of.”

Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration Ltd (PEARL), was established by Barnfield and Pendle Borough Council as a means to encourage regeneration and specifically as a vehicle for the development of a community-based Arts, Culture and Enterprise Centre (the ACE centre) in Nelson.

The development continued and the joint venture went onto successfully transform sites across the borough including Shackleton Hall, Market Street and Harrison Drive.

Rose Rouse, chief executive of Pendle Borough Council said: “The success of the project is down to the power of partnership working. All of this would have not been possible without the engagement of Homes England, Lancashire County Council, the LEP, Pendle Borough Council, Burnley FC In the Community and Nelson & Colne College.

“The project is providing a better quality of life for local people, has supported a range of local businesses, created hundreds of jobs, secured much needed market housing and widened housing choice in Pendle and regenerated a dilapidated site.”

Debbie Francis, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said “Northlight is exactly the type of regenerative project the LEP’s Growth Deal was designed to support.

"Reinventing a site like Brierfield as a contemporary mixed-used scheme, featuring residential, commercial, cultural and education facilities, will bring significant benefits to both businesses and communities. It also shows how by working in partnership, we can help to drive economic growth, support new jobs, and generate new opportunities for residents, across all parts of Lancashire.”

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