£30m set for Blackburn Cathedral Quarter Development
Blackburn’s Cathedral Quarter development, that will include a hotel, restaurants, shops, new bus interchange, a Clergy Court and new offices, is set to be given the green light by Blackburn with Darwin Borough Council.
The scheme, that is a partnership between the Council, Blackburn Cathedral, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and developer Maple Grove, will transform the town centre and could create up to 350 jobs.
Funding has been approved and the developer, who built the £21 million Barbara Castle Way health centre, is working on the detailed design work.
The first phase of the Cathedral Quarter development is almost complete – the new Blackburn Youth Zone is due to open in the New Year.
A planning application for the remainder of the development is due to be submitted this month and it will be completed in March 2014. The proposals include a hotel with 60 bedrooms, 30,000 square foot office space and a new public square.
The proposed Clergy Court includes 11 apartments and houses including a library, diocesan offices and refectory.
The new bus station on Railway Road will include further stops as well as bus facilities on Ainsworth and Penny Street.
Councillor Dave Harling, Executive Member for Regeneration said:
“The development is part of an ambitious 15 year plan which has already seen the regeneration of Blackburn town centre. The completed £66m Mall shopping centre is bringing thousands of shoppers into the town every week, the new Youth Zone is opening in the New Year and Cathedral Quarter is the next stage.
"The proposed hotel and offices will result in around 350 jobs and the new bus interchange alongside the railway station will create an impressive gateway to the rest of the town centre. The new public square surrounding the cathedral will be somewhere where people can gather and will want to spend time.
“Despite the cuts, the Council and its partners have worked hard to ensure that this scheme still goes ahead and it will be something we can all be proud of.”
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt. Revd. Nicholas Reade, said:
“This development draws on two important examples of transformation which the Church has contributed to in its service to and working with the community. The first was the vision which saw the conversion of Blackburn’s Parish Church into Lancashire’s great Cathedral, when the Diocese was created in 1926. The second is a new way of looking at community founded on faith in its neighbourhood. Together these two transformations will establish Blackburn as a beacon of hope for other positive changes in Lancashire’s life.”
The Dean of Blackburn Cathedral, The Very Rev Christopher Dean, praised the vision and commitment of all those involved in the scheme, adding:
"It’s an imaginative development which will bring the heartbeat and balance back to the centre of our town.
"It unites the commercial, administrative, spiritual and educational aspects as well as helping to repopulate the town centre with a new community, transforming a neglected area and protecting the heritage of the town for future generations."
Andrew Dewhurst of Maple Grove Developments said
“We are progressing the design work for the office and hotel buildings as well as the new public square. We will be sharing our plans with the public before lodging a planning application with the council.”
Deborah McLaughlin, Executive Director North West at the HCA said:
“I’m pleased we have been able to work so closely with the Cathedral and Blackburn Council over the last five years to support this important mixed use town centre regeneration project. We share our partners’ views that this great scheme will help continue the transformation of the area and local economy, improving amenities and stimulating much needed job opportunities for local residents.
“I look forward to seeing the new development unfold and I’m confident it will help reinforce a true sense of place and civic pride for the people of Blackburn.”