Published Tuesday 19 February 2019 at 11:24
Work has started to open up traffic around Northgate in Blackburn town centre.
This phase of the Department for Transport and Council funded project will see Northgate opened up to through 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 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.
This package of works includes:
- The realignment of Sudell Cross to allow vehicular movements towards King Georges Hall and new development areas
- Additional on-street parking for Sudell Cross businesses
- Public realm and pavement works which tie in with the Blakey Moor improvements in front of King Georges Hall
- The reversal of Tontine Street which enables direct access from Barbara Castle Way for local businesses
The Victoria Street / Northgate Link Road project will complete by March 2020.
Parallel works are also underway on The Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project which will see transformation in the area with the restoration of key heritage buildings and public spaces. Works will also see the removal of the mature oak tree on Northgate which has been diagnosed with a fungal disease, but this will be replaced with a similar oak tree.
Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Regeneration and Growth, said:
This work is making some much-needed changes to the Northgate area and is the start of an exciting package of works that will lead to a real transformation of the area as it runs alongside the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage project. The public spaces and traffic improvements will make a big difference to the area.
We had hoped to retain the mature oak on Northgate and sympathetically designed the public realm scheme around it. Unfortunately, the Council’s tree officer has identified disease in the tree that cannot be treated. The plans will be revised to include a large replacement oak and seating area and the existing tree felled prior to nesting season.”
The project was given the green light from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refurbish historic buildings, including King George’s Hall, the former Baroque public house, Blakey Moor terrace and properties on Northgate and Lord Street West.
Public space improvement works to Blakey Moor and Northgate will see the area around King Georges Hall better defined with high quality paving, improved lighting and seating.
The historic and well-known statute of William Gladstone will remain on the site against a softer background of planting and grassed areas.
Vehicle access will be retained but wider pavements will make better use of the space and provide a more appropriate setting for some of the town’s most important historic buildings.
The £750,000 scheme is jointly funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Lancahire Economic Partnership and is scheduled to complete at the end of May 2019.