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New Blackburn businesses brought into town centre heritage project

A TOWN Centre heritage project is now working with three businesses on upgrading and restoring their shops.

The latest negotiations are part of the £3.8million part-National Lottery-financed Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project which will see the area of the town near King George’s Hall and Blackburn College turned into a restaurant, bar and leisure quarter.

They are revealed in a report to Blackburn with Darwen’s full Council Forum meeting on Thursday by borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley.

It says: “The Townscape Heritage Project is now working with the private owners and businesses at 34 Northgate (Baileys Jewellers); 36 to 40 Northgate (the Wellcome Poundshop): 27 Northgate (Poundcraze); and 13 Northgate (former Age Concern) to work up grant-funded property improvement schemes to be delivered next year.”

Cllr Riley last week revealed that the unveiling of the statue of former Blackburn MP Barbara Castle in Jubilee Square as a centrepiece to the project will take place on Saturday October 9.

His report updating council colleagues progress on the scheme says: “The main contract for restoration works at Blakey Moor Terrace went out to tender at the beginning of June with a view to starting on site September/October for 12 months, subject to grant-funding approval from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“Works to neighbouring 29 Blakey Moor (the former Jubilee Pub) are almost completed and the new business, ‘Smoking Ranch n Grill’ is aiming to be open in July/August.

“Works to restore the council-owned 14 and 20 Lord Street West are complete and Prism Gallery and Studios have reopened as a creative hub.

“Prism are joined in the building by Pennine Lancashire art commissioners Super Slow Way who have relocated from Burnley to Blackburn, and local design agency Source Creative.

“Grant-funded restoration works to bring derelict properties 10 and 12 Lord Street West (the former Mellors Wire Works) back into use are almost complete.

“So far the majority of the work has been internal, but the project has now started on the final phase of external works including restoring the original shop front at number 12 and reinstating a new shopfront at number 10 to create two separate retail units.

“This grant investment has helped bring forward £800,000 private sector investment on the former Campbells Amusements building and this will be ready to be marketed in August.

“Funding has been agreed for phase two internal refurbishment at 35 Northgate (former Ribblesdale Hotel) and the main contractor is due to be appointed in the next few weeks.”