Networx3 UAV is helping to breathe new life into abandoned buildings

Networx3 UAV is helping to breathe new life into abandoned buildings on St James Street as part of a £2.5m heritage-led regeneration project in Burnley.

The Burnley-based firm is using its fleet of state-of-the-art drones to survey and inspect a neglected and rundown three-storey row of abandoned shops and offices ahead of planned redevelopment work. Work to turn Lower St James Street into an alternative retail and creative quarter kicked off last year with the aim of breathing new life into the conservation area, restoring and bringing back into use empty buildings alongside a program of cultural activities to restore its historic character.

Networx3 UAV is doing its bit for the renaissance of St James Street by working with Burnley architectural practice CRC Design on plans to convert a former vegetarian cafe and restaurant into offices, studios and workspaces.

A drone flight over the 35ft-high rundown terrace gave the new owners a condition inspection with photographs and video revealing potential weaknesses in the roof and a spot check on gutters and chimneys.

Networx3’s inspection report will now be used by roofers to undertake repairs before work begins on the new restaurant.

Networx3 UAV managing director and CAA-approved professional pilot Ian Ashworth conducted the flight: “We’re thrilled to be making a contribution to the revamp of St James Street which will benefit hugely from new businesses coming into the area and taking tatty and unloved shop fronts and giving them a new lease of life.

“Our drone has been able to give the new owners of the building an immediate condition check which allows them to budget and plan for the building work that needs to take place.”

The first phase of a four-year program for Lower St James Street began last summer with a scheme of public realm improvements. The aim is to make the area more attractive and increase footfall to encourage private sector investment by nurturing a creative district in the heart of the conservation area.

With match funding there will be grants for works to heritage buildings in the area, focusing on those that have been vacant for a prolonged period, for restoration of historic features, sympathetic and well-designed shop fronts, and for bringing upper floors back into use.

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