Burnley High Street Heritage Action Zone

Key buildings on Lower St James’ Street will be restored, whilst the town’s growing local arts scene will be strengthened by creating more opportunities for artists and the local community to celebrate Burnley's identity.

Burnley's roots go back many centuries, but it was during the Industrial Revolution that it came into real prominence, becoming one of the world's largest producers of cotton cloth and among Lancashire's most prominent mill towns.

Burnley's High Street Heritage Action Zone will centre on Lower St James' Street, which is a key thoroughfare through the town, defined by Victorian buildings. A key building in the area is the Grade II listed Empire Theatre which is the sole survivor of five variety music halls in Burnley and the only purpose-built Victorian theatre of its kind in East Lancashire. Now being restored by the Burnley Empire Trust, the building has been on the Theatres at Risk Register since it began in 2006.

Over recent years the number of vacant shops in this area has steadily grown (more than three times higher than the national average), whilst many of the fine historic buildings have fallen into disrepair and lost some important architectural features due to a lack of repairs and maintenance.

How the Burnley High Street Heritage Action Zone will help

With £1.3 million of government funding, delivered through Historic England, the untapped potential of this part of the town's core will be enhanced by a programme of repairs and the strategic position of Lower St James' Street between the growing student population and Burnley's town centre will be enhanced.

Stay up to date

Below you can find just some of the progress being made in the Burnley High Street Heritage Action Zone. For more, follow us on Twitter @HistoricEngland

  • The High Street Heritage Action Zone has funded essential roof repairs to the Burnley Empire Theatre as well as the partial removal of asbestos. An important step in the building’s preservation as well as a move towards enabling greater public access to the theatre
  • Burnley Council is hoping to repair and restore a key building on Lower St James’s Street that will open up to support the growing creative scene in the town
  • In partnership with Lancashire County Council, the streetscape along Lower St James’s Street was improved in 2021
  • More on what's new in your area

Working in partnership with

  • Burnley Borough Council

High Streets