Eshton upbeat about future of business park

Michael Hunt

The Eshton Group, developers of the 70-acre Burnley Bridge Business Park, said it remains very positive about the park's future, despite the withdrawal of funding by the North West Development Agency.

NWDA had to make £52m cuts to its budget and announced on Monday that all un-committed projects will not receive funding in 2010/11 and there will be no new financial commitments in 2011/12.

A spokesman for the North West Development Agency said: "We are working closely with Eshton to secure the development of Burnley Bridge. We are working towards a revised scheme for the site that would deliver significant economic benefits in line with those offered by the original proposals for which £4.2m in ERDF funding was approved."

In addition, to the £4.2m from the European Regional Development Fund, the Eshton Group hoped to secure a further £2.8m from the NWDA.

James Chapman, the managing director of Leeds-based Eshton, said: "The European money is still on the table. We remain very positive. There has been significant interest in the park from both national and local companies, with serious enquiries ranging from large 200,000 sq ft distribution centres to smaller industrial units."

Chapman added that he was confident that Findel, the home shopping, education and healthcare specialist, would occupy a new 210,000 sq ft distribution centre at Burnley Bridge, which is situated by junction 9 of the M65.

Chapman said: "The message is very clear. We are open for business. Overall we hope to create 1,400 new jobs at Burnley Bridge."

Burnley Council granted planning permission for 650,000 sq ft of mixed-use employment space, including large industrial units of up to 400,000 sq ft in January last year.

The business Park is located on the former Hepworth's site at Pollard Moor on the outskirts of Hapton and Padiham.

The £48m scheme is primarily seeking to attract light industrial and distribution-based occupiers. There will also be offices, a convenience retail store, crèche and hotel.

The agents for the development are Dove, Haigh Phillips of Leeds and Trevor Dawson of Blackburn and Burnley.

Mike Dove, of Dove, Haigh, Phillips, added: "Burnley Bridge Business Park, has unrivalled access to the M65 at the western gateway to Burnley town centre. Up to 650,000 sq ft of high quality business space will be provided, set within a carefully designed and managed environment. Burnley Bridge offers a quantum leap in the quality of industrial and distribution space now available to the new economy of the M65 corridor.

"Burnley Bridge is a remarkable project where occupiers will benefit from bespoke solutions close to a labour pool with impeccable logistics connections."

Chapman said the Eshton Group will look at the private sector as an alternative to try and secure the shortfall of £2.8m.

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