Blackburn with Darwen Council is preparing to submit a planning application in “the next couple of days” for the restoration and refurbishment of historic buildings, and improved public space, in the Northgate area of the town.
The project is being jointly funded by the council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, each of which will contribute £1.5m to the scheme along with some private contributions, according to the council.
Since last December, Leeds-based Group Ginger Architects has been working with the council to draw up plans for the renovation of Blakey Moor Terrace, a row of Victorian buildings at the heart of the project.
Having earned vacant possession of numbers 11 to 13 of the terrace, the council is finalising a compensation package with the former landlord.
Currently comprising two units, a newsagent’s and a fast-food restaurant, the council plans to consolidate the property to create one larger unit.
Other buildings within the terrace, numbers 17 to 27, would comprise one unit with the option to split into smaller premises for leisure uses.
Work on the public realm is almost complete but contractors across the scheme are not on site at present due to lockdown restrictions. A spokesperson from the council’s regeneration department said it hopes start work again “soon”.
The first phase of the renovation of 35 Northgate, which involved improvements to the building’s façade, is complete with a tender being prepared for internal work. The council is also in talks with a food and drink operator for this unit.
Some £150,000 of the funding is earmarked for external improvements to King George’s Hall, and the council is seeking further funding for an internal refurbishment.
Subject to approval, the council aims to start the 12-18-month build process in October after appointing a contractor.