The Burnley Business Improvement District (BID) has been commended by High Streets Task Force Expert Graham Soult after the retail guru visited the town to hear about Burnley’s plans for continued positive change.

The High Streets Task Force provides support to local leaders in town centres and high streets in England and was commissioned by the government in 2019 as part of its Plan for the High Street.

Graham, who is also an existing Fellow of the Institute of Place Management, was given an in-depth walking tour of the town by BID Project Manager Andrew Dean to understand about Burnley’s challenges, opportunities and new developments, before attending the Artisan Market on Saturday 2nd July.

Speaking about his visit and the information he learned regarding some of the initiatives and projects Burnley BID has been delivering, Graham was full of praise for the direction the town is heading in and referenced the positive impact of events such as the monthly market.

“My previous visit to Burnley was in 2014, and I was really pleased to see some of the positive changes that have taken place since then,” he said.

Traders at the Burnley Artisan Market
Burnley Artisan Market in the sun


“Despite the challenge of being launched just as Covid was starting, I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen of the work of Burnley Town Centre BID. In the Task Force, we often talk about the importance of bringing places to life through markets and events, of actively promoting what town centres offer, and of making sure that local partners are working together to improve and champion their town.

“In Burnley, the BID is clearly an important driver of all these things, and I would always encourage levy-paying businesses to get involved in their BID, share their ideas, and really take advantage of all the support and promotion that is available.”

On the market, which has been brought to the town via a joint approach between the BID, Burnley Council and Independent Street, he added: “The Artisan Market is also a significant asset in helping make Burnley more distinctive and less “clone town”. With over 50 stalls this month, the event helps to celebrate local producers, tackle negative or outdated place perceptions, and attract new people into the town.”


Burnley Town Centre Flowers


Graham also mentioned the public realm, which the BID, Council and Charter Walk all help to maintain through various projects, commenting: “I was impressed at the quality of maintenance of Burnley town centre’s streets and public spaces, with a generally high level of cleanliness, and planting that provides welcome colour and cheer. Flowers can make such a positive difference.”

Following his trip, Graham will prepare a short report for the BID team where he will summarise his findings and look at ways that certain areas, such as the town’s early evening and leisure economy, can be developed and grown further.

Discussing the comments made by high-street champion Graham, BID Project Manager Andrew Dean said: “It’s great to hear such positive reflections on the work we’re doing in Burnley alongside our partners from someone who has visited towns and cities right across the UK and has a wealth of experience when it comes to place management.

“We now eagerly await Graham’s report which will feed into our plans for driving the town forwards and exploring channels which may help our businesses even more.”



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