You are on page 1of 40

Mosques on stilts, rhubarb

plantations, and time-share

printing presses

Future opportunities and needs

for workspace in Burnley

December 2007

Foreword 2

Executive summary 3

Introduction 4

Workspace policy and practice 6

Current provision of workspace in Burnley 10

Research into workspace trends and local perceptions 11

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 19

Responses from people originally consulted

Conclusion 21

Appendices 22
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
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.

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.

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
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

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 99
general office equipment 94
catering/canteen facilities 76
current generation broadband access 76
information centre 70
computing equipment 62
specialist equipment 38

Support Services Provided % of Schemes

networking opportunities 85
business planning 84
secretarial support 74
financial advice 68
mentoring service 66
business development 63
marketing advice 63
book-keeping 57
management training 52
legal 26

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
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


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

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
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.

Area Population (2001 census) no. workspaces avg. bus. starts 01-05 (per 10,000 people)
blackburn 137470 27% 856 34% 33.68 16%
burnley 89542 17% 450 18% 30.86 14%
hyndburn 81496 16% 328 13% 29.78 14%
pendle 89248 17% 419 16% 30.02 14%
ribble valley 53960 10% 238 9% 51.38 24%
rossendale 65652 13% 260 10% 39.06 18%

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 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

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
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.

Images from open consultation events staged

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

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

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

- 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

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

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

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
7 rent
5 own
1 unspecified

of which when asked if premises were too big / small

9 too small
3 OK
1 unspecified

of which when asked if they would base themselves in Padiham

3 yes
6 maybe
4 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

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

Invitation to consultation event and results

Appendix: Responses from all community consultation events staged:

Burnley Enterprise Consultation Event JINNAH 18th July 2007

Views on work space in Burnley

What’s good?

• Accessible
• 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
o Is it the Council’s responsibility?
o BAP?
o 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?

• Experience:
o Sharing
o Mentoring
o Success stories – breeds success
o PEER project
o Inspiration to others
• Networking – support
• Information on finance – people are not aware of start up money which is available
• 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’
• How can we all this be done in a sustainable way?

Burnley Enterprise Consultation Event Lancashire Digital technology
Centre 25th 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 –
• 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 1st 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
• Flexibility
• Transfer of assets or services to communities
• Serviced units for office type provision
• Training/mentoring/support on site
• Catering facilities
• Market square
• Childcare
• Website
• 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
• Sustainability
• 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 25th 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
• 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


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

Printed by:
Red Room Media
272 Colne Road, Burnley,
Lancashire, BB10 1DZ
Phone 01282 454345 Email

Burnley Enterprise Trust Ltd

A company limited by guarantee Registered in England No. 2231684;
Registered Office: Lancashire Digital Technology Centre, Bancroft Road,
Burnley BB10 2TP
Phone 01282 872350 Fax 01282 87235

You might also like