Blackburn town centre wins £3m for restoration work

Heritage Lottery Fund and Blackburn with Darwen Council are each putting £1.5m in to a restoration project in Blackburn town centre.

The five-year project, run under HLF’s Townscape Heritage Initiative, aims to restore and refurbish up to 25 historic buildings, create a new civic space, provide local people with training in traditional building skills and develop events and activities that celebrate the town’s history and heritage.

Northgate Conservation Area, including King George’s Hall and properties on Blakey Moor, Northgate and Lord Street West will all be made over.

Grants of up to 80% of project cost will be offered for conversation work to heritage buildings and for bringing empty properties back into use.

Blackburn College will deliver a heritage skills training programme, complementing existing construction courses.

The council said a previous townscape heritage project undertaken in Darwen increased business confidence and helped boost the evening economy.

Cllr Phil Riley, executive member for regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Blackburn and this scheme will really help make the most of King Georges Hall, a vibrant cultural asset.

“The project will add to the huge amount of regeneration and investment that is already taking place across the town centre which includes the new leisure centre and bus station.

“I think visitors and residents can’t fail to be impressed by the changes that are taking place in the town which are key to making Blackburn a place that is attractive to live, work and invest in.”

Sara Hilton, head of HLF North West, said: “The town’s historic buildings provide a tangible link to a proud past and today’s news will ensure they play an equally important role in the future.”

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