Published Monday 8 May 2017 at 16:08
A new speakeasy bar set to open this summer, is just one of the exciting new developments planned as part of the £3 million Townscape Heritage Initiative for Blackburn town centre.
The bar will be a 1920s/30s inspired café and cocktail bar on Northgate, one of the streets that forms part of the scheme.
Called Shh! Bar Bistro it will see nightlife return to the street as well as offering food and drink during the day.
Former restaurateurs Michael Mohan and Martin Booth-Morton are behind the project, which could receive up to £45,000 from the initiative that is funded by Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The grant will be used to fund restoration of the front of the building and make internal improvements.
The Townscape Heritage Initiative is intended to protect and restore heritage assets in the Blakey Moor Terrace, Northgate and Lord Street West areas of the town.
Although not all of the buildings will be able to receive grants all businesses will benefit from an increase in footfall and increase business sustainability.
Following last year’s announcement of the scheme property sales, lets, new businesses and investment have already increased.
“We think it’s a really exciting time for Blackburn, it feels like there’s a bit of a buzz here with the regeneration, and we want to be a part of it,” said Michael who is aiming to decorate the bar in an Art Deco style in a nod to the prohibition era.
The plan is to also host live music and jazz nights making the most of the baby grand piano that the bar will boast.
Other projects in the area that have been invited to apply for grants include the former wire works on Lord Street West.
The owner of the currently semi-derelict building development has secured planning permission to convert the property into two shops and two apartments and a grant could fund restoration of the historic frontage along with roof repairs.
In addition the former Baroque pub could also receive funding to repair its historic façade and the Community Clothing shop on Lord Street West opened by fashion designer Patrick Grant could also see a grant to fund improvements to the building so that the shop can expand.
Other elements of the scheme include improvements to paving, lighting and the introduction of planting schemes, the restoration of the Blakey Moor terrace and the refurbishment of the front of King Georges Hall.