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Mosques on stilts, rhubarb plantations, and time-share printing presses

Future opportunities and needs for workspace in Burnley

December 2007

rhubarb plantations, and time-share printing presses Future opportunities and needs for workspace in Burnley December 2007
rhubarb plantations, and time-share printing presses Future opportunities and needs for workspace in Burnley December 2007




Executive summary




Workspace policy and practice


Current provision of workspace in Burnley


Research into workspace trends and local perceptions Statistical review of business start-up levels across East Lancashire Existing research amongst target group of start-up SMEs Discussions with various local agencies and bodies Open consultation forums


Opportunities for future workspace developments Responses from people originally consulted




Appendices List of agencies and bodies interviewed Existing research amongst target group of start-up SMEs Statistical data on managed workspace in East Lancashire Presentation slides used in group consultations Full list of all responses from consultations Bibliography



One of the key objectives of the Labour government has been to foster the spirit of enterprise in a way that increases opportunities and prosperity for all people and enriches community life.

and prosperity for all people and enriches community life. This can be done in many ways,

This can be done in many ways, but the most visible for any community is the creation of physical buildings to offer a new and varied range of workspaces. Such structures can act as a focal point to better encourage and support the creation and growth of enterprises in local areas that in turn can create local employment and local wealth. This can be done for finding new uses to old buildings, bringing the life back into a community or using land to build newer spaces tailored to the needs of an area.

This project that Burnley Enterprise Trust is leading is therefore of immense interest in seeking to identify what additional 'focal points' may still be needed in order to ensure that Burnley offers the opportunities to its residents and communities that we wish it to.

Within Burnley, there are already a range of such buildings, but they are not as visible as perhaps we need them to be in order to harness their full potential in benefiting our town.

Those that we have, and are identified in this report, have come about through largely traditional means – a private developer spotting an opportunity, or our local authorities prioritising the need for them in response to wider needs in the local economy.

What has impressed me most about this venture is the way Burnley Enterprise have approached the question of whether more workspaces to support the creation of new enterprises are actually needed; in seeking to engage directly with all our local communities in Burnley; existing businesses, residents, community groups and others. They have shown their commitment to ensuring that they deliver what the people of Burnley want and in engaging directly to find out what Burnley needs, rather than simply deciding themselves what is best for the town. The Government supports this approach of active engagement with the community and I am sure that this project will be used as a pioneer in how similar objectives can be delivered in the future.

I would like to wish Burnley Enterprise and this project every success and will be using the influence I have as the Member of Parliament for the area to ensure that the messages and recommendations Burnley Enterprise put forward are taken into account and that the investment the follows makes Burnley a better place to live.

are taken into account and that the investment the follows makes Burnley a better place to

Kitty Usher, MP Burnley



As a local enterprise agency, Burnley Enterprise has identified a growing need and concern with regard to the availability and appropriateness of various types

of workspace within Burnley.

Working through an external officer to ensure as high a degree of objectivity as possible, discussions took place with a range of groups and bodies within the local authority, community, and others.

These discussions and other research explored not only the current provision of workspaces locally, but also considered how future facilities might be best developed in order to ensure that currently unmet needs, might be met in new and imaginative ways.

A review was also undertaken as to current trends within workspace, and

priorities and plans for the role of current and future workspace developments within the local area. These showed that workspace and incubation exhibit common traits respectively, and that common support services are offered according within each type of facility. However, incubation facilities increasing face a pressing concern of how those businesses which establish themselves with their support can be best ‘moved on’ owing to a struggle to identify appropriate premises to relocate to. The other striking characteristic between these two types of workspace facility is that incubation facilities are usually developed through public sector investments, whereas more ‘generic’ workspace is developed through the private sector.

Future models of workspace that might benefit Burnley that emerged through this work highlighted the potential role that faith communities could have, ways in which Burnley’s largely rural areas can be better utilised, and provision within workspaces to be structured to include offering access to specialist machinery and equipment which would allow for new enterprises to emerge in currently under-represented industries.

This work also highlighted that knowledge of existing facilities and support is not

as widespread or common as it might be in order to ensure that these resources

are made best use of to the benefit of Burnley.

It would also seem that currently there is no clear single agency or body who could take sole responsibility for acting on the recommendations based on these findings in their entirety.



As a local enterprise agency supporting existing and new start businesses, Burnley Enterprise seeks to maintain a level of awareness of the changing needs of its clients in order to best meet the needs of small, existing and emerging enterprises within the area.

In previous years, this had led to its developing a partnership with a local credit union to create new sources of finance for local enterprises that would otherwise be unable to access debt in order to either establish themselves or grow, and the lobbying of policy makers in order to ensure that legislation remains appropriate and conducive to encouraging and supporting enterprise in the area.

More recently, the agency has noticed that an area of concern for its clients that is increasingly common is in relation to workspace and facilities from which to be based and trade. This has led it to consider whether the existing provision of facilities in the town best meets the needs of both the current and emerging business community. In order to best explore this issue, and identify what actions it may be able to take in addressing it, it successfully gained support from Awards for All to undertake an initial scoping and concept feasibility study. This support from Awards for All ensured that Burnley Enterprise would be able to devote resources to exclusively explore the question of workspace with a wide range of other bodies, and was especially valuable as such exploratory work falls outside of the remit of the services it is primarily funded and contracted to deliver.

The scope of this work was not to undertake a detailed feasibility study for establishing a new workspace or business incubation facility, nor to audit the existing provision of such provision within the town – such research and information is either already available through the local authority or is being planned to take place in the near future. Instead it sought primarily to consult with various groups within the community and agencies who have an interest in workspace provision to consider what ‘gaps’ may either exist or be emerging that suitably designed workspace provision might be best placed to meet in order to best meet the needs of local residents. This focus was deliberately chosen as despite the range and scope of workspace developments in the town to date, there had not before been any such open discussion with the wider community as to what they would prioritise or elect to see developed, given the opportunity. As such, requests for meetings from Adrian Ashton, the consultant appointed to deliver this work, and subsequent open discussion forums were warmly welcomed and offered a wide range of ideas and issues that future workspace strategy might benefit from.


As a pre-cursor to this study, Burnley Enterprise also explored approaching a number of funding bodies to explore options for financing developments of new workspaces which would include strong community elements. However, this initial stage of work concluded that Burnley Enterprise in its current structure and form would not be ideally placed to be the sole lead body on developing a new workspace facility within the town. It would therefore need to consider that if it were to pursue such an initiative, how it best re-structure itself, or identify and collaborate with other agencies who might be better placed to act as the lead body.



In considering the question of workspace as a means to offer more than just a location for business to be based at, this study also sought to identify what the relative merits are for various models of managed workspace and incubation facilities.

Research from the national body for business incubation facilities, the UKBI, highlights that a typical traditional business incubator can support the creation of up to 30 new businesses and 167 full time equivalent jobs per year. In addition, some 98% of business housed by incubators survives against a comparison of less than 50% for business not based with such facilities. As such, incubation, and by extension managed workspace, is an attractive strategy for communities and areas seeking to better foster business start-up rates and ensure sustainable job creation, especially as most tenants within an incubator will usually live within the immediate area.

This traditional model of incubation sees a facility which offers space and access to facilities and support services appropriate to an enterprise at different stages of its growth and early life. It also operates flexible tenancy agreements to enable entrepreneurs to more easily and appropriately trade and manage their cash flow position through not being tied into long leases. However, such new businesses will always be encouraged to ‘move on’ within 2-3 years in order to continue to offer opportunities for further new enterprises to be created.

Incubator development is usually led by public bodies and with funding from regeneration or economic development programmes. As such, they are better placed to flexibly offer a high standard of support services through not having to be concerned with principally servicing debt and are usually located in areas where there is below average levels of business formation or under- representation within specific industries and sectors (so that some incubators are focussed around creative industries, high-tech or bio-tech). By contrast, traditional workspace for established businesses are usually managed and developed by the private sector. These are more likely to have less by means of support services, and rents and shared facilities (reception desk, etc) are priced more in-line with the open market and so more expensive than their incubation counterparts.

In various parts of the country, these models of incubation and managed workspace have been used as the basis to achieve outcomes other than those traditionally ascribed to them. For example, in some areas incubation facilities have been developed as a means to address the problems created by disaffected youth through offering them facilities and space within which they can explore and develop ideas as a pre-cursor to either establishing their own business, or moving into employment in a related field. In other areas, they have been used to support local charities and communities increase their impact upon


a community through offering shared space and facilities which enable them to make better use of limited resources.

All of the above would seem to be in-line with current policy with regard to the provision of incubation and workspace facilities:

National – currently, the Department for Enterprise, Business Regulation & Reform holds only 1 active policy initiative with regard to workspace. This is in the form of a development fund which is managed on its behalf by UKBI and seeks to identify and explore new models of incubation.

Regional – The NWDA has identified some 25 key sites of strategic importance in ensuring the delivery of the Regional Economic Strategy. Although these do not include any locations in or around Burnley, the Agency nonetheless accepts that this list is not exhaustive and that will consider the case for additional sites where new sites can be clearly evidenced as supporting economic growth within the region.

County-wide – Lancashire County Council, through its economic development arm (LCDL), has identified a number of strategic priorities which include the development of incubators to encourage new business development.

Local – The Economic Strategy for Burnley 2007-2017 states that as part of its overall vision for “a Burnley that will become a place with a diverse and united community, a modern economy, a healthy, safe and clean environment and quality services which work together for the good of the public”, there needs to be provision of affordable high quality workspace. This vision is further detailed as being sought to be achieved through the development of an infrastructure of sites and premises (some themed to specific industries), with linked support services, available to entrepreneurs and which are based around the redevelopment of existing buildings as well as the construction of new sites.

In practice, many sector and representative groups within the business community have voiced concern that the provision of incubators or managed workspace should not simply follow a ‘generic’ formula of creating space and services, but rather that they need to recognise and address specific features of different groups within a community. For example, Prowess, the national body for female entrepreneurship argues that women entrepreneurs need to be supported to take a more flexible approach to developing and managing businesses due to what are usually different motivations and lifestyles from their male counterparts. They have also found that incubators are usually male-dominated with female entrepreneurs instead


preferring to work from home to accommodate childcare arrangements and because they do not perceive that an incubator would offer them the benefits that would make them relocate to within them.

Also of concern is the increase of the ‘sector specific’ incubator – based on the theory that having an entry policy that will only allow entrepreneurs access if they are trading within a specific sector or industry will create clusters and so increase opportunities for collaboration and new trading partnerships. However, some question if this actually artificially increases and concentrates levels of local competition and acts as a deterrent to the wider economic growth of an area.

There is also interest and some provision with regards to ‘virtual incubators’ – offering the range of benefits associated with incubation (access to shared support services, corporate address, etc) but without an actual physical building. This allows ‘tenant enterprises’ to be based at home, or in other locations but with the benefit of access to the services they would otherwise be able access only if they were physically within an incubator, and so increasing their prospects of survival and growth as if they otherwise were.

The current make-up of workspace and provision would also seem to bear out the models argued by policy makers as the following profile of the business incubation sector illustrates:

Facilities Provided


of Schemes

meeting rooms and conference facilities


general office equipment


catering/canteen facilities


current generation broadband access


information centre


computing equipment


specialist equipment


Support Services Provided


of Schemes

networking opportunities


business planning


secretarial support


financial advice


mentoring service


business development


marketing advice




management training




Source: Business Incubation,, 2002


However, an area of increasing concern for the management teams of incubators is around that of the ‘move-on’ policy and practice. While in theory tenants can be located for up to 3 years within an incubator, during which time they will establish their business and grow it to a level whereby they need to expand into new premises, in practice many get ‘stuck’. They become accustomed to the support services and benefits associated from being based within the incubator, placing the management teams in a difficult position – should they force the tenant out, thus increasing its chance of subsequent failure through it not being ready to ‘graduate’ but allowing new enterprises entry to the facility, or should they let they remain, thus safeguarding that business’ contribution in terms of GVA and employment, but stifling future growth in the local economy from new enterprises? This is an issue of increasing concern for incubation nationally as more and more facilities report that they are full, and waiting lists for entry become longer. It’s root cause can perhaps be explained through incubators’ development being primarily led by public bodies, while more generic managed workspace is developed by private investors. As such, their development is rarely formally co- ordinated to ensure that synergies are created that will benefit each.

The role of local authorities with regard to incubation and managed workspace also supports the argued benefits that such facilities create within a given area – the majority of authorities within England report having an involvement of some kind (ranging from fully funding their development and parts of the ongoing revenue costs to part financing the development only) with them.

Given the range of benefits that incubation and managed workspace can offer, and the variety between different localities, it is not surprising that there are no standard or typical models of incubation emerging – each is unique to its locality and the specific priorities and needs that its lead developers have identified and agreed.



In undertaking this study and development work, a review was undertaken of current incubation and workspace facilities within Burnley. This was not meant to be an exhaustive audit of buildings and services, but rather a ‘snap shot’ to be used as part of the consultations that subsequently took place. Indeed, for such an activity to be undertaken would be a clear duplication of effort, as such monitoring and listing currently takes place on an ongoing basis through the local Authority’s Regeneration & Economic Development Unit’s business support team. This is made available freely to any business or organisation who might wish to access it.

It was felt important to generate this overview picture of provision to ensure that the community and other agencies were fully aware of the range of developments already taking place – to date, there has been virtually no public/open discussion or consultations with regard to each new facility, and each has been developed within the priorities and agenda of its lead developer. As such, it is commonplace for people and agencies to be unaware of what provision already exists, how it has been/is being developed and is intended to benefit the local area.

This survey of workspace and incubation highlighted that alongside a number of privately owned workspace facilities that offer a serviced reception area and meeting rooms, there are incubators for high-tech and other enterprises emerging from amongst areas of the town deemed as being ‘most deprived’. In addition, there are also plans for a graduate enterprise facility that will create new opportunities for knowledge transfer partnerships, and a range of facilities managed within the community and charitable sector offering workspace, training facilities and access to meeting rooms. Some of this provision from the charitable sector, in-line with the other developments led by the public and private sector, also operate with a particular focus – for example, one facility is concerned with supporting groups from within the BME community, and another, those experiencing disability.

There is also a flagship initiative within the Weaver’s Triangle area of the town planned to focus on encouraging the growth of the creative industries sector through the provision of managed workspace, and which will be explicitly linked to local schools and colleges and include residential dwellings.

The costs of these facilities vary greatly, with some centres charging £15 per square foot plus service charges, while others are priced much lower, although in such instances the quality of provision and additional services is correspondingly greatly reduced.



In establishing how effective the local provision of incubation and managed workspace is in order to best consider what might yet still be developed of value to the local community a number of perspectives were explored. These were also used with the additional intent of informing ways in which any new facility could be developed for maximum benefit to all within Burnley

Briefly, these comprised a review of statistical data on business formation rates in Burnley and the surrounding towns and cities in relation to the provision of incubation and workspace, primary research from local enterprises as to their perceptions and experiences of local provision, and a series of open consultations with individuals and representatives from the wider community (local authorities, charities, residents, etc) who would otherwise not be able to easily influence the development of future facilities.

Statistical review of business start-up levels across East Lancashire

In considering how appropriate and effective existing provision of workspace in Burnley is, an analysis was conducted on neighbouring areas as to the quantities, values and impact on encouraging enterprise growth (measured by start-up rate).

The purpose of this exercise was to identify any correlation that might exist between either the value or extent of provision of space with the level of business formation rates. Local populations were also measured to ascertain whether this might also be impacting on business start-up rates (i.e. within larger concentrations of population, it is often argued that more people will start-up businesses due to the concentration of services, infrastructure and other services).

The area looked at covered East Lancashire. The reason for this choice of scope was two-fold:

1) to ensure that broadly similar cultural traits and economic history were consistent with Burnley in the areas it was being compared with 2) that the business support infrastructure within East Lancashire has begun to ‘converge’ in recent years with a view to standardising the support services and infrastructure available to businesses and entrepreneurs in- line with overarching strategies and intent that whole of East Lancashire being to act, and be perceived, as a single economic and cultural centre rather than as a series of separate and disparate towns and cities.


This initial analysis of sub-regional trends in business start-up rates across East Lancashire for the period 2001-5 and used economic data from Lancashire County Council. It would seem to indicate no direct correlation to the availability, size, number or value of business premises on the overall rate of new business start-ups. The findings show that although Blackburn is by far the largest population centre, numbers of workspaces and share of total workspace floor area in East Lancashire, it is actually Ribble Valley, who have the smallest population, least number of workspaces and smallest share of total floor space who report the highest levels of business formation rates as a percentage of their population.


Population (2001 census)

no. workspaces

avg. bus. starts 01-05 (per 10,000 people)





























ribble valley














This would seem to indicate that the mere existence of workspace is not sufficient to successfully and effectively stimulate and grow the local business population. Other factors must also be considered, such as local cultural factors, support services and existing networks and relationships between businesses.

Within the scope of this initial study, it has not been possible to further identify and explore these issues, but it would perhaps be prudent for subsequent study to be undertaken to address this in order to ensure that Burnley, and East Lancashire as whole, might better increase its economic growth through the formation of new businesses.


Existing research amongst target group of start-up SMEs

In considering the issues connected with the provision of workspace, attention was also given as to the needs of the primary users of such facilities – new, and emerging small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

To ensure that they were surveyed with a degree of objectivity and that the findings could be used with certainty, samples of these groups were surveyed through 2 separate routes: a bi-annual survey from the economic development unit with Burnley Borough Council, and a bespoke survey of Burnley Enterprise’s own clients.

The Burnley Business Survey undertaken by the Council in 2005 found that at least 10% of local businesses experienced difficulty in identifying appropriate premises to relocate to, and that in addition, a substantial proportion more did not consider looking for local sites if they needed to relocate due to negative perceptions about the local commercial property market.

Against these findings, Burnley Enterprise undertook a survey of its clients in 2006 to explore their experiences of local workspace. With a response rate of over 10%, the findings of this were therefore felt to representative (surveys of this type usually generate a lower return). These findings highlighted that at the time of being surveyed, 5% were actively seeking to relocate their premises due to a lack of security of tenure and lack of available space. Extrapolated against the agency’s client base, this indicates a figure of at least 40 SMEs that are in need of move-on or more secure premises from which to trade. Further, that the majority of these respondents showed no interest in any site they would look to relocate to having hot desks or formal meeting room facilities. This would seem to indicate that there is a significant proportion of SMEs who are actively seeking dedicated premises only, with limited support facilities available to them on-site.

In total, this potentially indicates approximately 400 1 existing local SMEs and other businesses in Burnley need support in identifying appropriate premises at any given time.

Given that this figure does not take account of pre-start enterprises, it would seem to indicate that workspace provision in Burnley still has scope for further development.

1 The additional 70+ figure is derived from an allocated 10% of Burnley Council’s count of local businesses (evidencable at 3,500). The actual total figure for the local business community which in actually be much higher, but it was not possible to establish what this is an objective and auditable manner.


Discussions with various local agencies and bodies

The third strand to the research in exploring the provision of current and future workspace was a series of individual meeting with key agencies and bodies, and staged open forums in venues around Burnley. These subsequent forums sought to identify the perceptions, experiences and ideas of various local residents, activists and other agencies that had otherwise not been able to be contacted, but also to generate discussion between various groups as to how they might begin to identify and explore their common needs and aspirations with regard to workspace provision.

The outcomes of the individual discussions found a general consensus of shared perception. This is encouraging as these discussions were staged with a wide range of bodies from different sectors and interest groups, yet all showed a shared a degree of commonality:

1) that the majority of current business sites are being offered on short-term leases due to the prospect of imminent developments which will mean the commercial property market will rise in value. Landlords are therefore keen to ensure that they maximise their incomes and revenues from such increases in the market value, and so are keen to limit the length of their tenant’s residencies before they can instigate a rent review. 2) That historically, many new developments in Burnley have experienced a slow take-up of occupancy to reach their anticipated and target levels of tenancies. 3) Despite the growing supply of office accommodation, there would still seem to be a need for small to medium sized spaces (1-50 employees), as well as ‘graduation’ opportunities for growing businesses to easily relocate to larger sites in nearby locations and so reduce the disruption and upheavals associated with large scale relocations. 4) Within the current workspace marketplace, the question was also repeatedly raised as to the need for flexible ‘mid-range’ accommodation for low-value businesses. Currently all new developments and investments are focussed on high-value office facilities. With current sites for workshops, lock-ups and ‘occasional offices’ being offered through ‘absent landlords’ the quality and provision of this type of accommodation is low. Being able to generate such a provision would ensure professional and appropriate facilities for a full range of business activity ‘from high- tech to back-street’. 5) There is a clear need for locations and sites being developed to be mindful of existing business needs – especially those business which are currently fragmented in operating across multiple sites. As such their efficiency and benefits created for Burnley are limited.


6) There is a growing base of evidence to indicate that the reality of local residents’ aspiration and skills in establishing high-value businesses is different in scale to that anticipated in various strategy and planning documents. As such, there is a risk that the development of a number of high-profile and high-value office-based facilities will act to deter and de- motivate local residents in being perceived as even more unattainable than some present facilities if not carefully presented and managed as part of a wider progression route. 7) Any new development should be designed so as to allow for natural meeting and networking spaces amongst tenants – this in turn will generate partnerships, supply chain opportunities, etc that might otherwise be lost.

In addition, some specific issues were also found. Although these were largely raised by a minority of agencies and bodies interviewed, it is felt that they are complimentary to the concensual issues reported above:

1) Given the range of barriers that exist in deprived communities and wards to residents gaining employment or establishing their own enterprises, there should there be a range of ‘mini-developments’ that are linked together in some way. Each such development would offer a specific focus or target a specific themed group: those in receipt of incapacity benefit; women; youth; etc. There is also the recognition that the existence of such facilities and back-office services alone will not be of benefit – they will need to be offered pro-actively so as to generate interest and take-up as there is no obvious latent or current un-met demand for them. 2) Within the some of the larger areas being developed (principally the Weaver’s Triangle area), there are a number of vacant properties that require substantial development. This potentially creates concern as the private sector investment to the area could create facilities which, although of a high value, are situated in areas where they are surrounded by vacant, run-down properties and so unattractive to potential tenants and fail to meet their aims.

Open consultation forums

Following these individual discussions, a series of open forums were staged which sought to explore similar perceptions in a more structured format that would encourage agencies, businesses and local residents to collectively explore, and share their experiences of, workspace and incubation.


These took place in a variety of venues in order to ensure that as far as possible different types of groups within Burnley would not face specific barriers to engaging with these forums. Different venues were therefore chosen to ensure appropriate access and cultural association for all groups within Burnley.

and cultural association for all groups within Burnley. Images from open consultation events staged As with

Images from open consultation events staged

within Burnley. Images from open consultation events staged As with the individual interviews, these forums presented
within Burnley. Images from open consultation events staged As with the individual interviews, these forums presented

As with the individual interviews, these forums presented an overview of the current and emerging provision of workspace, as well as examples of facilities from elsewhere where such sites had been used to address issues of social need and community benefit. Participants reflected on these issues as a group and identified collectively what they felt was appropriate and valuable within the current provision, what was still needed and what, given an ‘open chequebook’ might yet be developed.

A full listing of all the comments made is included in the appendices to this report, but briefly, there was consensus around the following:

What’s good?

- That investment is being made in redeveloping existing buildings across Burnley by the private and public sector, and not just in edge/out of town business parks and industrial estates.


- Also, that there already exists a wide range of size and types of workspace.

What’s missing?

- There is a lack of space for lifestyle and low-value businesses

- There is a general lack of knowledge of the support available to people in establishing and growing new businesses

- That there needs to be specific support for thematic groups within the community to establish new businesses (e.g. women), rather than just by industry sector

- No clear or consistent mechanisms seem to exist to allow existing businesses to support younger enterprises (e.g. Guardian Angles in Blackburn)

What’s needed other than physical space?

- To ensure appropriate transport infrastructure that makes best use of public bus services, as well as adequate car parking facilities around each site.

- A range of on-site support services including legal advice and access to funding and investment; opportunities to network with other neighbouring tenant businesses; and access to shared equipment, the cost of acquiring which would otherwise be prohibitive for new businesses and so act as a barrier to them creating a new business.

- There was also the point raised in one session in relation to residential space being linked to workspace: historically Burnley’s housing stock was developed around its primary industries so that people would be within close walking distance to their places of work. Given the distances that people are increasingly travelling to their places or work, and the increasing demand for greater flexibility within employment, the suggestion was raised that this historical model is one whose time may be coming again through linking residential dwellings with workspace and incubation.


Barriers to groups accessing workspace

- Availability of initial funds to create a new business and sustain it in its first months of trading

- Lack of general knowledge of what facilities already exist and the benefits that they offer tenants

General comments

- Using social enterprise models could be advantageous in keeping benefits created local, and ensuring focus is maintained on supporting residents and enterprises in most need locally – it could also create opportunities to utilise the involvement faith groups

- That Burnley is generally considered to be an urban area, and that the majority of sites are situated within its urban conurbations. In actuality, Burnley has a large proportion of rural space with a range of old and under-used agricultural buildings. There therefore exists potential and opportunity to make use of these sites to further create new facilities to support people living in the rural areas of Burnley to create and develop new businesses.



In considering what opportunities managed workspace could offer Burnley in the future, common themes, needs and issues have been identified and considered how they might be best developed further. These have used to create an ‘ideal model’ incubator/workspace development:

A site of significant size that would offer a range of unit sizes to accommodate businesses as they grow; utilising an existing older property location that is unattractive to the private sector to re-develop due to the costs involved which would therefore necessitate a public sector investment – as such, the focus of the site would not be on the generation of income from tenants, thus allowing space to be let more favourably to low-value and lifestyle business; a range of ‘back-office’ support services which include access to specialist equipment on a time-share system; opportunities for ‘spontaneous’ and planned networking events between resident tenants as well as showcasing opportunities for tenant businesses to exhibit to potential customers or investors; and easy links to public transport infrastructure.

Such a site could also devote designated areas or ‘clusters’ of units to thematic groups such as women, or people experiencing a disability – alternatively, mini- sites could be developed within specific areas of Burnley to further increase access by such groups in recognising limitations that people within them may face regarding childcare or transport.

In considering where such a site may be situated, many comments by those consulted identified that roughly 60% of the Borough of Burnley is actually rural. As such, there are a number of under-utilised sites and older agricultural buildings that could be re-developed to offer the above described model. This would also create natural opportunities for agricultural and horticultural businesses to more easily be established and so a revival and strengthening of the local rural economy also affected.

The role of the faith community should also be considered – increasingly faith plays an important part in the lives of communities and the people within them. As such faith bodies have the potential to mobilise and focus people in innovative ways; in other countries, Muslim communities have developed workspace models which see an explicit co-development of sites: the initial development of the site is funded in entirety by the Mosque, and spaces created within, alongside, and even underneath, for business to be based. This allows for an income stream which subsequently maintains the overall site and allows the faith body to maintain and further develop its role within the community.


For Burnley Enterprise to be involved in leading the development of any such new sites, it would need to form close partnerships and alliances with a public body who would act as the landlord; it would then develop and manage the site under an agreement to allow it to retain a proportion of income generated as well as having a future option to purchase the site at current prices. This surplus would then be used to fund the on-site support services it could offer to tenant enterprises.

However, it may be that one of the other planned developments that are being initiated and led by other bodies can make use of these recommendations in enhancing their plans to increase its value to local residents and groups within the wider community.

But whatever actions are progressed, it is strongly recommended that greater co- ordination take place between all the management teams of the various workspaces in Burnley to address the following issues:

1) to ensure wider appropriate knowledge of available sites, facilities, support and ‘move on’ space amongst enterprises, groups and support agencies 2) to create new synergies that will allow tenants to benefit from increased access to support they are currently unaware of, or are otherwise unable to access 3) to increase the profile and impact of workspace in Burnley through greater support to local and new enterprises

Responses from people originally consulted

In ensuring that this consultation and identification of opportunities for workspace, those individual agencies and bodies who were initially interviewed as part of the research methodology were re-visited with the above findings and recommendations.

This was for a number of reasons:

1) to test the validity of the findings 2) to allow individuals to reconsider their views in light of the wider context of others’ experiences and perspectives 3) to identify where individuals might now be able to identify specific opportunities and roles they could play in current and future developments of workspace

For those individuals who responded to the opportunity to comment of the findings and draft of this report, there was agreement that it reflected an accurate picture of their input, the consultations and that the findings and consultations were agreed with.



The initial purpose of this piece of research was to explore what opportunities might exist for various workspaces to benefit Burnley in ways that they currently are not.

It has shown that workspace in various forms (including incubation) are used in a variety of ways and settings, but that all share common aims of encouraging business growth and therefore benefiting local areas.

It has also identified that the current provision in Burnley, while varied and extensive is poorly perceived and not well understood, thus limiting the impact that they have.

Through a series of consultations via individual interviews, group consultations and statistical research and analysis, common issues and opportunities for workspace were identified, but to successfully address them to create new benefits for Burnley will potentially require new approaches to how such facilities are developed.



Appendix: list of bodies and agencies interviewed (excluding those represented and involved in open community consultation events)

Social Inclusion and Employment Network (SIEN) Burnley, Pendle & Rossendale CVS Burnley Borough Council Jinnah Community Development Trust Burnley Enterprise Trust Lancashire County Developments Ltd Business in the Community Lloyds TSB Burnley Neighbourhood Management Burney and Pendle Community Alliance Burnley Football Club Manchester Metropolitan University University of Central Lancashire Kitty Usher, MP


Appendix: Burnley Enterprise research into its clients’ experiences and needs with regard to property in 2006:

Property Research Questionnaire

300 people mailed 28 responded

13 people would consider changing premises

of which







of which when asked if premises were too big / small


too small





of which when asked if they would base themselves in Padiham






no (main reason: work based in Burnley / too far from home base)

when asked what would encourage them to move to new premises:

facilities – appropriateness (4)

price - free rental period / town centre with reasonable rent (6)

in terms of space and facilities the following were listed as important…

office space (2-6 staff)

rooms for meetings / training / coaching consultancy

equipment - phone, broadband, fax, storage

features – accessible, parking, kitchen and toilet


Appendix: Statistical data on managed workspace in East Lancashire in relation to population and business formation rate.

Source: Lancashire County Council website

in East Lancashire in relation to population and business formation rate. Source: Lancashire County Council website


Appendix: Workspace for business in Burnley- is there what we need?

Invitation to consultation event and results

Appendix: Workspace for business in Burnley- is there what we need? Invitation to consultation event and










Appendix: Responses from all community consultation events staged:

Burnley Enterprise Consultation Event JINNAH 18 th July 2007

Views on work space in Burnley

What’s good?


Wide spread across Burnley

Realised something needs to be done, this needs to continue and develop more – BAP

Schools enterprise project?

What’s missing?

Lack of space for lifestyle based business e.g car repairs etc.

Need more workshop space – practical space units for building, construction type business

Community farm – practical work which can come off

Needs to be more awareness of what there is available

Where is it advertised?

Where/who do you go to start a business?

Not knowing where the support is

More support for women into business

Promotion f social enterprise

Promote good examples of social enterprise


Is it the Council’s responsibility?




PEER project

Massive opportunity – new business – how to dispose of waste – support

new business and look at doing it in a different way

Benefit to the local economy – Elevate

What should be available as well as space?







Success stories – breeds success


PEER project


Inspiration to others

Networking – support


Encourage Schools to achieve Business Enterprise status


Other Benefits/Opportunities

Private sector supporting social enterprise/new businesses

Multi use buildings

Balancing use – private & social

People too busy doing the work – time limitations

Development trust model

Social enterprise model – e.g Mosque/shops

Lack of awareness of all models

Property development

Renewable energy company – benefit to the community

General comments

How affordable are ‘these’ premises/units etc.?

How do we make these activities more profitable so we can use ‘these’ facilities?

How can we all this be done in a sustainable way?


Burnley Enterprise Consultation Event Lancashire Digital technology Centre 25 th July - Focus Group 1

Views on workspace in Burnley

What’s good?

Being here today

People wanting to set up business – there is a demand

Vibrant entrepreneurial spirit – spirit exists is this taken forward?

Northbridge House & Lodge House provide flexible sized space

Other people are looking at provision which highlights a public need – Who?

Positive attitude to investment in Town

Future/current developments

Transport links

What’ missing?

Information – marketing what we have

Small flexible workspace for industrial use

Diverse space/culturally appropriate

How do we know about it?

Need for space with flexibility

Experimental space – looking for innovation

Low or no cost space

Home based business – outreach provision

Differentiation to meet needs of clients

Rural provision in appropriate venues

Localised wealth management

Deprived areas – keep money in those areas

Debt management – credit unions

Diverse trading zones – celebrate diversity/culture

Lack of support – grants etc.

No opportunity for large business to support small business – Blackburn Guardian Angels

Parking/bus routes

Modern town centre office space – we have a high proportion of 1 st floor outdated office space

Managed workspace with support/office services/on site training provision

No networking options


What should be made available other than space?

Parking/bus routes

On site support – finance, legal etc.

Incorporated leisure space

Other local facilities close by

Network/forum for support from similar companies – could be online

Encourage synergy between unit holders

Aspirational coaches

Community enterprise support


Transfer of assets or services to communities

Serviced units for office type provision

Training/mentoring/support on site

Catering facilities

Market square



Residential space

Conference facilities

Need a supported environment

Are there any things which wouldn’t be appropriate?

Outside experts

Not taking advantage of the skills we have in Burnley

Lack of support for individuals who are losing funding

No long term thinking

Losing knowledge & skills to other areas because of the lack of support/opportunity in Burnley

Statutory sector has to provide support

Are there any things which would be appropriate?

Good will & trust

Direct link with BAP

Working in partnership


Should Elevate be providing space?

Residential space provided with workspace


General Comments:

There is a fear factor when starting a business

Need to manage peoples expectations

Low self esteem/aspirations in some communities

Lack of opportunity for young people

Pool the knowledge - innovative people who we are losing due to lack of support & funding from the Council – no grant funding for start ups

Council need to devolve some of it’s services to create community based social enterprises e.g. street cleaning

Burnley Enterprise Consultation Event Lancashire Digital technology Centre 25 th July - Focus Group 2

Views on workspace in Burnley

What’s good?

Weavers Triangle – old building/atmosphere – good base for the HIVE

Regeneration of old buildings – make use of them, think of access for disabled

Old buildings are adaptable

What’s missing?

Affordable space – low value/low spec

Workspace for crafts

Support from other business

Mixed use space, work units, galleries etc.

Place to socialise/network within workspace

Shared workshop/facilities – specialist e.g. woodwork – would help with cost of equipment

Possibility of co-operative to buy equipment/tools

Start up costs put people off starting on their own

What should be made available other than space?

Cheap equipment hire

Parking – free/cheap

Better road network into Burnley

Pleasant surroundings

Networking opportunities/support

Share equipment/workspace


General Comments:

Social enterprise model – pitfalls – trying to maintain a community focus & social focus

Having a social model without going too commercial, problems with commercial taking over the social side

Old buildings – communities taking ownership & giving life to the building


Availability of funds

Policy & procedures – social enterprise v benefits

Benefits – people not willing to give them up - understandably


Appendix: Bibliography

Burnley 2006 – The Real Story, Burnley Action Partnership

Burnley Business Survey 2005, Burnley Borough Council

Burnley’s Future - Burnley’s Economic Strategy 2007-17, Burnley Borough Council

Burnley Property Register, Burnley Borough Council

Burnley Snapshot 2005 – facts and figures at a glance, Burnley Borough Council

Business Incubation,

Commercial and Industrial Floor space 2006 report, Lancashire County Council

Development Trusts in 2006, Development Trusts Association

Learning from experience – the BURA guide to achieving effective and lasting regeneration, BURA, 2002

Making community buildings work for people – an action research study into the sustainability of community buildings, Civic Trust, 2005

Managed Workspace and Business Incubators – A Good Practice Guide for Local Authorities, Local Government Association, 2000

Neighbourhood Management in Burnley: our changing neighbourhoods, Burnley Borough Council / Burnley Action Partnership, 2005

Strategic Regional Sites – annual monitoring report, 2005, NWDA

The National Business Incubation Framework, UK Business Incubation, 2004

Women-friendly incubation environments and managed workspace, Prowess / UKBI, 2005


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