SMALL and medium sized firms pursuing innovation and quality across Burnley have earned the borough a top 10 placing in a new think-tank report.

Centre for Cities has rated Burnley above industrial powerhouses like Hull and Warrington after examining the areas with the most companies adopting ‘high-growth strategies’.

Analysts were looking for ventures which prioritised quality over price, sought to be innovative, offered customised goods or services and operated in ‘competitive’ markets.

Blackburn was ranked in the bottom 10, by the think tank, and Blackpool in the bottom five.

The announcement comes just months after Burnley was named the most enterprising place in the UK and as Burnley Bridge Business Park and the Aerospace Supplier Village at the former Michelin site begin to take off.

And the first look was released this week for a hub at Vision Park – the newly-minted advanced manufacturing hub behind the Burnley College and UCLan campus.

Borough council chief executive Steve Rumbelow said: “Small businesses are the engines of growth and it is clear from this report that Burnley’s small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) are going for growth.

“This is the platform for Burnley to continue its growth trajectory in the long-term.”

Council leader Coun Mark Townsend added: “ This is more good news for Burnley.

“To be spoken about in the same breath as economic powerhouses such as Cambridge and Edinburgh shows how far Burnley’s economy has come.

“We continue to punch above our weight in so many ways and our small businesses are no exception to that.”

Ambitious electrical wholesale YESSS will be the first Burnley Bridge tenant, tooling giant Kaman has relocated to Burnley from Darwen and Aircelle continues to sign deals with international customers.

Mark Crabtree, managing director of AMS Neve and Burnley Bondholders group chairman, said: “This is more positive economic news for Burnley.

“This indicator is about businesses which innovate, produce quality products and operate in competitive markets, all things that in my experience position the businesses to be more productive and profitable in the long term.”