Decision due on multi-million pound road improvement scheme

Published Friday 2 March 2018 at 16:26

Plans for a new £2.9million road scheme in Blackburn Town Centre are set to come before the Council’s executive board next Thursday.

The project will make it easier to get to Whalley Range and Northgate/Sudell Cross from the Orbital Route and Barbara Castle Way.

And highways and public realm improvements will make it much easier to access King George’s Hall and Northgate where there is currently a £3million heritage lottery improvement project underway.

The scheme will involve upgrades and reconfiguration of junctions on Barbara Castle Way and will boost and extend the existing town centre.

A key part of the plans will see Whalley Range with its range of fashion, textile and clothes shops, brought into the main retail area and stop Barbara Castle Way acting as an unofficial boundary as it currently does.

Called the ‘Fabric Borders’ project as an acknowledgement of this part of the scheme and a nod towards Blackburn’s textile industrial heritage, if given the go-ahead the plans will be funded by a £2million contribution by government and the remaining £900,000 from Blackburn with Darwen Council.

The project is split into the following five sections:

  • New junctions with direct access from Barbara Castle Way at Watford Street and Tontine Street to serve redevelopment of isolated sites
  • New highway link road and junction access at Richmond Hill / Richmond Terrace to reconnect Town Centre fringe areas
  • Northgate / Sudell Cross opened up to through traffic and a reorganisation of existing junctions to free up north / south movements into development areas
  • New echelon parking at Richmond Terrace created and better linkages between the Mall and Whalley Range areas
  • Victoria Street South becoming inbound only to promote pedestrian movements and to provide additional parking for businesses on Victoria Street

Other benefits include making the streets and pedestrian routes safer, more comfortable and attractive and improving access to new and under-used employment sites in the north of the Town Centre at Tontine Street, Victoria Street and Watford Street.

Overall it will aim to improve access to sixteen Town Centre development sites covering 29,000 square metres, enabling the creation of between 370 and 690 potential new jobs.

The decision whether to give the scheme the go ahead will go before Thursday’s executive board meeting, with consultation and detailed design to follow in the Spring.

Work is proposed to commence in Autumn 2018 and be completed by Spring  2020.

Cllr Phil Riley, borough regeneration boss, said:

This scheme is yet another key part of the major multi million pound regeneration that continues to happen across Blackburn Town Centre.

While we are aware that there will be some disruption we are committed to doing what we can to keep that to a minimum when the works start

And so far the feedback that we are getting from businesses in the town centre is that this is something they are keen to see happen.

However, we will be carrying out formal consultations with key businesses and the general public later in the Spring.

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