The multi-million plans that will change the face of Blackburn by 2020

New cinema comes to life

This Computer Generated Image (CGI) shows a first glimpse of what the area will look like when the works are complete by April next year.

Building works are progressing well for the new £10m scheme that will see the eight screen Reel Cinema created with bars, café’s and dessert bar with an outside seated terrace area overlooking the new Jubilee Square.

The venture, on the site of the former Waves Water Fun Centre, brings together a fusion of Hollywood, Bollywood and independent cinema.

A new Council car park is also being constructed underneath the cinema which will be available to both cinema goers and visitors to the restaurant and bars in the area.

Regeneration is continuing to change the face of central Blackburn, bringing new developments to the streets and rejuvenating the centre’s historical landmarks.

This unique new cinema complex will be complimented by cafes, a dessert bar, businesses and brand new road layouts.

The area around King George’s Hall, Northgate and Blakey Moor is set to be transformed in this ambitious project to revamp the entire space.

Jubilee Square

Jubilee Square will act as a destination hub where people can relax and gather.

There will be a social area with seating for Blackburn College students and visitors.

A Grand Axis with divided grassed areas framed by planting trees will create a grand entrance fitting to the historic Victoria building. This will be a suitable location for the proposed Statue of Barbara Castle.

Townscape Heritage Project at Blakey Moor and Northgate – a new public space for everyone

Supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Townscape Heritage Project will see transformation in the area with the restoration of heritage buildings and public spaces around King George’s Hall.

Public space improvement works to Blakey Moor and Northgate are already well underway, creating a better defined area with high quality paving, improved lighting and planting. Access for cars will be improved but wider pavements and seating areas will make a more inviting space for pedestrians, businesses and pavement cafés.

The Ribblesdale Hotel

The Ribblesdale Hotel on the corner of Northgate and Blakey Moor has already undergone a major historic restoration. It’s now on the market ‘To Let’ for a high quality food and drink operator, the building is now set to take centre stage in the area’s revived leisure and cultural scene.

With 80% grants on offer, further shopfront improvements along Northgate and Lord Street West will follow soon. The final piece of the regeneration jigsaw will be the full restoration of the Blakey Moor Terrace in front of King George’s Hall. Currently in need of a revival, the whole terrace is now owned by the Council and will be brought back into commercial use with a £1.5 million investment.

The Department for Transport and Council funded project will see Northgate re-opened up to traffic, following previous consultations with residents and businesses over how the Town Centre functions for drivers and pedestrians.

Groundworks are in progress and have started to unearth the old Northgate section of Highway. Ducting works (on underground pipes) are almost complete at Victoria Street and Barbara Castle Way which will see the change in direction of Victoria Street, to be delivered at a later stage of the project.

Work will include:

  • Opening up Northgate between Sudell Cross and King George’s Hall to allow traffic
  • Additional on-street parking for businesses on Sudell Cross
  • Public realm and pavement works which tie in with the Blakey Moor improvements
  • The reversal of Tontine Street which enables direct access from Barbara Castle Way for local businesses

Thriving new businesses

To encourage the economic and cultural revival of the area, over the last few years the Council has offered property incentives, small grants and help with business rates.

This has helped to attract new businesses around the King George’s Hall area including an exclusive 1920s style café and cocktail Shh Bar, the cool Mods vs Rockers bar, authentic Punjabi restaurant East z East, Prism Contemporary Gallery, live-music venue Electric Church and Gossip Beauty Salon.

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development, said:

These are exciting times in Blackburn and, particularly, round King George’s Hall. This is all part of the Council’s desire to create a thriving entertainment and leisure offer for the town’s residents and for the visitors who are increasingly coming to Blackburn to see for themselves what’s going on.

To view the original article on The Shuttle, click here.

©2023 Blackburn BID

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