Growth Lancashire was commissioned by a private developer to assist with proposals to develop the former Grade II listed Burnley Grammar School building into co-working, office and event space for the digital community. The project was devised to create the necessary inspirational infrastructure to reinforce Burnley’s digital cluster and retain digital talent in Burnley rather than losing them to nearby Manchester or Leeds – Burnley was recently ranked an impressive second place for the highest digital jobs growth in Britain.
The building itself occupies a highly visible and prominent position in one of Burnley Town Centre’s most historic locations and is a fine example of Victorian Gothic revival. Growth Lancashire was engaged early in the project to research and analyse the building and its surroundings to assess areas of significance, leading to a Heritage Statement required as part of the Planning Application process for a change of use. From the outset, our activity was intended to help guide the development, and suggest how the heritage could help manage change in those areas of the building that could best accommodate it.
The resulting heritage statement not only protected and conserved important heritage elements within the building, but identified areas which could be developed and enhanced to help the building function more effectively for the future.
As a result, problems with the building’s connectivity and circulation caused by previous organic development were overcome by proposing the insertion of a glass reception and stairwell in the central courtyard of the former school.
This courtyard was a small, unused and forgotten area which had been created as a result of the organic development of the site over time. The proposed solution provided a beneficial use for this space, improving connections between the various wings of the building, and making it fit for the future without compromising the original buildings.
Commenting on Growth Lancashire’s work, project sponsor Mark Crabtree OBE of AMS Neve, said:
“The Burnley Grammar School building is a truly exceptional piece of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Growth Lancashire produced a Statement of Significance which helped us understand the heritage and conservation issues concerning the significance of this wonderful building which helped inform the design decisions the architects made in the exterior and interior of the buildings. Given the time pressures it was important that the Planning Application was not delayed by Conservation matters. The Statement of Significance produced by Growth Lancashire was instrumental in the planning process, giving the Local Planning Authority the confidence that our application was based on robust, objective research and understanding of the building. I’m delighted that no conservation objections, queries or delays were raised by the Local Planning Authority despite the building being such a visually prominent and historically important structure within the town.”
Contact us to see how Growth Lancashire can help with your heritage project.