Published Thursday 28 March 2019 at 10:18
Blackburn with Darwen Council has put in a bid for part of the Government’s new £675m Future High Streets Fund to support town centres responding to economic change.
The submission will compete with over 400 other ‘expressions of interest’ from other local authorities.
If selected by the Government, the Council will be invited to work with partners and Government to work-up the proposals in detail.
The proposal covers Darwen town centre and includes the railway station, Darwen Leisure Centre, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Darwen Health Centre, Darwen Library and the adjoining Darwen Library Theatre, Darwen Town Hall and Darwen Market as well as a number of new retail, leisure, workspace and residential development opportunities.
The proposal includes the following:
- Refurbishment of Darwen Town Hall and Market Hall to create a vibrant food-led market, a community hub, and workspace for new business growth.
- Upgrade of the market, town hall extension and carpark.
- Creation of Darwen Business Growth Zone. There is strong potential for new business growth with funding targeted to match privately funded investment in existing properties and new business growth in Darwen’s retail and commercial core to improve their appearance and viability.
- Improved town centre pedestrian routes. Funding would be invested to improve pedestrian areas, making crossings safer to help make the town centre easier to navigate for both regular users and visitors.
- Town Centre Living. Working with partners, new homes will be encouraged to support business and retail growth in the town centre.
- A Future Darwen Capital Fund would help accelerate the introduction of new businesses in the town centre, as well as digital innovations, while tackling detractor sites constraining new growth opportunities.
Denise Park, Deputy Chief Executive, said:
There has been major investment in new public facilities, services and infrastructure in Darwen over recent years, including a new Market Square that is opening shortly, with new employment and housing growth opportunities taking shape as well.
However, there is still much more to do. We look forward to a positive response to our Future High Streets Fund submission and the opportunity to work with Government and our local partners.”
Martin Kelly, Director of Growth and Development, said:
There is a real desire for change and we hope to secure Government support to act as a catalyst to delivering our ambitious plans with partners and the community”.