Meet the Board

A Town Board of key representatives from across the borough has been formed to manage the Long Term Plan for Burnley. It is led by Burnley College Principal Karen Buchanan.

Karen Buchanan

Principal of Burnley College and Chief Executive Officer of Themis, its Apprenticeship training arm, Karen Buchanan is Vice Chair of the Lancashire Colleges Group and a Trustee of the Pennine Trust. Following a successful career in computing in industry, she has taken the College to its position of Number 1 College in England for 16-18-year-olds in the Government Achievement Rate Tables.

Leon Calverley
Vice-Chair, SME representative

Founder and Director of award-winning Door4 Ltd, Leon Calverley is an experienced in governance, recruitment and finance, alongside marketing agency and sales leadership; digital technology, e-commerce and transformation; performance marketing, content marketing and user experience design. He is a Trustee of the Mercantile Marine Memorial Trust.

Antony Higginbotham

Member of Parliament for Burnley and Padiham, Antony Higginbotham was elected in 2019 and became the first Conservative MP for the area since 1910. In Parliament, he takes a strong interest in business, the economy, international trade and defence, taking part in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and sits on the Business and Trade Select Committee.

Afrasiab Anwar
Leader Councillor

Leader of Burnley Borough Council, Afrasiab Anwar was elected in 2018 and has served as a member of the council’s Executive Committee for Community Services. With 20 years’ experience in local government, community engagement and the voluntary/faith sector, he is involved with Burnley FC in the Community, the Lancs Council of Mosques and Burnley Youth Theatre, among other groups.

Lubna Khan

Burnley Borough Council Executive Member for Sustainable Development & Growth and Burnley Independent Group councillor Lubna Khan represents Bank Hall Ward. Lubna also sits on the council’s Development Control Committee, as well as on Burnley and Pendle Children’s Partnership, Burnley Private Rented Sector Forum and the North West Employers’ Organisation.

Jamie McGowan

Elected to Burnley Borough Council in 2022, Jamie McGowan sits on the council’s Scrutiny Committee and is finance spokesperson for the local Conservative Council Group. Born and bred in the borough, Jamie previously ran his own media company and has worked in manufacturing for the print industry and in a sales role for blue-chip companies within the food sector.

Aidy Riggott

Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth on Lancashire County Council, Aidy Riggott is passionate about delivering high-quality housing, excellent schools, modern infrastructure, and innovative approaches to develop the right skills all focused on creating the right environment for businesses to come to and thrive in Lancashire.

Derry Crorken

Operations Manager at Lancashire Constabulary, Derry Crorken has 27 years’ policing experience in Lancashire, leading on complex and serious investigations. He is currently responsible for response and neighbourhood policing across Burnley, pendle, Rosendale and the Ribble Valley and works wit local universities to bring about closer working between policing, academia and industry.

Phil Jones
Burnley Together

As Director of the Calico Group, Phil Jones focuses on growth, partnerships and business development. He has spent most of his career working on projects that support Burnley residents, including building new homes, helping to secure new jobs and bringing investment into the town, as well as establishing the Burnley Together model with colleagues from Calico.

Simon Brierley
Burnley Bondholder

Membership Secretary of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and founder member of Burnley Bondholders Simon Brierley previously enjoyed a 20-year career in radio, including holding the post of Managing Director at Burnley’s local radio station 2BR. A proud Burnley resident, he enjoys championing the town and bringing meaningful employment and opportunities for all.

Laurence O'Connor
BID representative

Chair of Burnley BID and Chief Executive Officer of Financial Affairs Group, Laurence O’Connor is passionate about driving strategic growth and operational excellence, as well as creating collaborative environments where innovation thrives, and individuals are empowered to reach their potential. Over the course of his career, he has held key positions within the Insurance Institute.

Alan Pace
Burnley Football Club

Chairman of Burnley Football Club and Managing Partner at ALK Capital, Alan Pace has more than 20 years’ experience on Wall Street overseeing multi-billion-dollar divisions and 10 years in sports management. A dual British-American citizen, he splits his time between New York, London and the North of England and has three daughters with his wife Kristen.

Donna Livesey
Burnley Leisure and Culture

Chair of the Board at Burnley Leisure and Culture, Donna Livesey has worked in Community Sport Development for 21 years, including the Sport England-funded Active Communities Programme in Lancashire and is a member of the Active Burnley Forum, prioritising Burnley as an Outdoor Town. Donna is a volunteer at a women’s charity, a voluntary sector sports club and cultural trust.

Graham Baldwin

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, Graham Baldwin leads multiple academic, skills, employer and awards bodies across the UK, as well as sitting on the Board of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. An expert in exercise physiology, he holds the title ‘Outstanding Foreign Expert’ in China, where he is an honorary and visiting professor.

Eshan Bilal
Youth Parliament Rep

Member of the UK Youth Parliament for Burnley and Padiham, Eshan Bilal has been active in the youth voice sector for four years, consulting with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, YMCA and Lancashire County Council. He launched ForPlanet, a climate activist organisation to engage young people in climate action and reduce eco-anxiety.