OMI primed for Blackburn appointment

The architect is being lined up to lead on the refurbishment of St John’s Church, the first phase of a £250m transformation plan for Blackburn town centre.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board has been asked to approve the appointment of the practice on the £3.54m project.

Damaged by a fire in 2019, the grade two-listed building converted to flexible work space.

The town centre overhaul masterplan also includes the former Thwaites site and the potential relocation of Morrisons.

Cllr Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development, said: “This is a landmark moment for our ambitious plans to transform Blackburn town centre.

“As the oldest church in the town, it was devastating to see the damage caused after the fire in 2019.

“Using the money we have received from the insurance, we can now start work on refurbishing the historic building and re-purposing it as quality, flexible workspace.”

Among its body of work, Manchester-based OMI Architects has extensive experience in museums, galleries and churches, including work on the £4.9m restoration of All Souls in Bolton, named RICS North West Building of the Year in 2015.

At present, the studio is currently working on projects including Cert Property’s 30-storey community living scheme in Salford Quays, and a restoration/extension scheme for McCauls in Mancheter’s Laystall Street.

Cllr Riley added: “The masterplan shows that the Council is forward-thinking with its placemaking agenda and I’m really pleased that we’re already embarking on the first phase.

The masterplan will be part of the borough’s new Local Plan. The executive board meets on 10 February.

Blackburn Town Centre Masterplan Area

Morrisons is expected to relocate as part of the masterplan. Credit: Blackburn with Darwen Council

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