A new era dawns for Blackburn

An image of the Clergy Court viewed from the end of the Cathedral link corridor

An image of the Clergy Court viewed from the end of the Cathedral link corridor

First published in News

THE Cathedral Quarter is the keystone of a radical 12-point plan for redeveloping Blackburn town centre which has already seen 15 empty retail properties occupied.

When the blueprint was announced in November, 20 per cent of shops – 96 retail units – in the central retail area were vacant, rising to 27 per cent in Sudell Cross/Northgate.

Now town hall chiefs have revealed vacancy rates have fallen by more than 15 per cent as new tenants take advantage of discount rents, rate reductions and free council car parks after 3pm and at weekends.

The radical plans aim to bolster the main £33million development with new restaurants and small independent shops opening late and a new night-time economy of eating, drinking and entertainment.

Proposals includes five new restaurants and better vehicle access to the central area and ‘Blackburn is Open’ creative initiative while business leaders have set a ‘Business Improvement District’, using firms’ cash to boost the retail hub with promotion and environmental improvements.

The council is looking for new entertainment/restaurant uses for the former Bentley’s pub and the old Corn Exchange/Apollo cinema near the town hall as part of a revival of this historic area.

Cutting rents for empty borough properties and reducing business rates in run-down districts has already produced results.

The borough alone has let 15 shops including three in Town Hall Street, six in King William Street and two in Sudell Cross, with ‘To Let’ signs going up on privately-owned vacant units.

Other proposals include a jump-on/jump-off town centre circular bus, and a rejig of Blackburn’s completed orbital road and one-way system linking in the Wainwright Bridge.

Responses to a consultation urged improving car access to King George’s Hall, the Cathedral and shopping area along King Street and Northgate, with decisions expected by December.

Bars are staging ‘Friday Night Live’ weekly music acts and student nights to stimulate a late-evening ‘buzz’.

A programme of top music acts at King George’s Hall is under way with monthly Club Tropicana and Utopia nightclub reunions.

Blakey’s Bar is also open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights.

Monthly town centre ‘First Thursday’ events are on track, headlined by four major occasions including this month’s Beat and September’s Heritage Festivals.

The Central Library opens on Sunday, with stronger promotion of Blackburn museum and its collections.

Council bosses hope to complete the town centre transformation before the £20 million upgrade of Blackburn, Darwen, Clitheroe and Manchester rail line brings all day half-hourly services in December 2016, improving city and commuter links.

Comments (3)

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8:03pm Sat 9 Aug 14

abetterblackburn says...

A new era dawns for Blackburn . . .

An era is a period of time marked by character, events, changes on earth, etc. Blackburn council has been predominantly controlled by the Labour Party and later by New Labour since 1945 until May 2007 when it fell into no overall control. Take yourself back thirty odd years before Jack Straw and you will find a complete change in Blackburn, it’s culture and it’s people. Are these changes improvements or simply changes due to it’s present cultural growth under his control. It would be interesting to see what Blackburn will be like in another thirty odd years time after the shadow of Jack Straw has finally faded from view. Having had a safe seat as MP for Blackburn for such a long period of time has definitely left it’s mark!

Question: Has having had only two safe seat MP’s for Blackburn over a period of sixty nine years improved Blackburn and the surrounding area or is it responsible for the decline in the town that we are experiencing today. Perhaps it would be fare better to have a short period of time that an MP could hold that safe seat. This would help rid an area from having a one person biased point of view?
A new era dawns for Blackburn . . . An era is a period of time marked by character, events, changes on earth, etc. Blackburn council has been predominantly controlled by the Labour Party and later by New Labour since 1945 until May 2007 when it fell into no overall control. Take yourself back thirty odd years before Jack Straw and you will find a complete change in Blackburn, it’s culture and it’s people. Are these changes improvements or simply changes due to it’s present cultural growth under his control. It would be interesting to see what Blackburn will be like in another thirty odd years time after the shadow of Jack Straw has finally faded from view. Having had a safe seat as MP for Blackburn for such a long period of time has definitely left it’s mark! Question: Has having had only two safe seat MP’s for Blackburn over a period of sixty nine years improved Blackburn and the surrounding area or is it responsible for the decline in the town that we are experiencing today. Perhaps it would be fare better to have a short period of time that an MP could hold that safe seat. This would help rid an area from having a one person biased point of view? abetterblackburn
  • Score: 5

9:22pm Sat 9 Aug 14

mark anthony says...

Nice place for. Rats from far and wide to venture the new lawns and rubbish bins who knows they may like it that much and call it home
Nice place for. Rats from far and wide to venture the new lawns and rubbish bins who knows they may like it that much and call it home mark anthony
  • Score: 5

11:25pm Sat 9 Aug 14

bow1974 says...

abetterblackburn wrote:
A new era dawns for Blackburn . . .

An era is a period of time marked by character, events, changes on earth, etc. Blackburn council has been predominantly controlled by the Labour Party and later by New Labour since 1945 until May 2007 when it fell into no overall control. Take yourself back thirty odd years before Jack Straw and you will find a complete change in Blackburn, it’s culture and it’s people. Are these changes improvements or simply changes due to it’s present cultural growth under his control. It would be interesting to see what Blackburn will be like in another thirty odd years time after the shadow of Jack Straw has finally faded from view. Having had a safe seat as MP for Blackburn for such a long period of time has definitely left it’s mark!

Question: Has having had only two safe seat MP’s for Blackburn over a period of sixty nine years improved Blackburn and the surrounding area or is it responsible for the decline in the town that we are experiencing today. Perhaps it would be fare better to have a short period of time that an MP could hold that safe seat. This would help rid an area from having a one person biased point of view?
so so very true completely agree blackburn has had it pound\kebab shop capitol of the northwest .
[quote][p][bold]abetterblackburn[/bold] wrote: A new era dawns for Blackburn . . . An era is a period of time marked by character, events, changes on earth, etc. Blackburn council has been predominantly controlled by the Labour Party and later by New Labour since 1945 until May 2007 when it fell into no overall control. Take yourself back thirty odd years before Jack Straw and you will find a complete change in Blackburn, it’s culture and it’s people. Are these changes improvements or simply changes due to it’s present cultural growth under his control. It would be interesting to see what Blackburn will be like in another thirty odd years time after the shadow of Jack Straw has finally faded from view. Having had a safe seat as MP for Blackburn for such a long period of time has definitely left it’s mark! Question: Has having had only two safe seat MP’s for Blackburn over a period of sixty nine years improved Blackburn and the surrounding area or is it responsible for the decline in the town that we are experiencing today. Perhaps it would be fare better to have a short period of time that an MP could hold that safe seat. This would help rid an area from having a one person biased point of view?[/p][/quote]so so very true completely agree blackburn has had it pound\kebab shop capitol of the northwest . bow1974
  • Score: 5

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