June start on Weavers Triangle college

Barnfield Investment Properties, advised by Indigo Planning, has submitted plans for a University Technical College for the Visions Learning Trust at Victoria Mill in Burnley's Weaver's Triangle.

The £10.1m development and conversion of the former mill will be undertaken by Barnfield Construction in joint venture with Burnley Council as part of the wider regeneration of the Weavers Triangle. Work could start in June 2012, subject to planning.

Victoria MillThe Grade 2-listed Victoria Mill would be brought back into use as teaching space, a lecture theatre, laboratory and workplace learning zones for 800 students, as well as a kitchen/cafeteria, administrative offices and a hall for sports, performance and public use.

Gareth Smith, project director of Barnfield, said: "This project epitomises real regeneration and with our partners at Burnley Council we will be able to deliver this exciting project in a short period of time.

"This scheme forms part of a much wider regeneration which is being undertaken by the Joint Venture between Barnfield Investment Properties and Burnley Council. This development will be the catalyst to much wider and exciting opportunities in this area creating much needed footfall."

University Technical Colleges are being introduced by the government to offer 14- to 19-year-olds the opportunity to take full-time, technically-orientated courses designed to bridge the gap between education and employers, offering qualifications in areas that will match employers' needs. The government is committed to delivering 18 UTCs across the UK before 2015. Two have opened in the West Midlands and Burnley's would be the first of in the North West.

Daniel Jackson, senior planner at Indigo Planning, said: "This will be an exemplar University Technical College offering young people courses that match employers' needs, creating links between learners and local businesses, and helping boost their job prospects when they're ready to enter the workplace.

"Weavers' Triangle is one of the finest surviving Victorian industrial landscapes in the UK. These plans will help bring one of its gateway buildings back into use with careful restoration and help unlock other regeneration opportunities in the area."

Victoria Mill lies at the northern gateway to the Weavers' Triangle, a 1km stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal that was once the heart of Burnley's textile industry. The site includes 19th century mills – including Lancashire's oldest mill – weaving sheds and canal-related engineering.

Capita Symonds provided structural, environmental and architectural advice to design and deliver the project. Visions Learning Trust hopes to open the college in September 2013.

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