Update on multi-million-pound investment for Darwen town centre

Published Friday 15 March 2024 at 10:16

There’s a huge amount of new investment planned for Darwen town centre.

This includes more than £20m for Darwen Market, the library and theatre and Darwen Youth Centre.

And there’s a further £20m of new funding available through the Government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns Scheme..

The major projects need detailed planning – both to make sure what we do is right and, given they are all so close together, the schemes are all carefully co-ordinated.

Here is an update on progress:

Darwen Youth Centre – images 0923 1 – Re-sized

Darwen Youth Centre we secured £3.3m of new funding for Darwen Youth Centre through the Government’s Youth Investment Fund. It means we’ll be able to double the size of the existing Knott Street facility – adding an extra level. The funding for this project needs to be spent quickly and so you’ll see work start there first. Indeed, planning permission has already been secured and the youth centre is set to close for the works on March 31st.

While the work is underway, the parking at Darwen Railway Station and Atlas Road will be free and young people will be able to continue to access activities at venues across the town, including at the new Darwen Youth Zone base in Railway Road. Please look out for more details being announced in the coming days at: www.theshuttle.gov.uk

1. Darwen Market

Darwen Market through the £100m Darwen Town Deal, including support from Blackburn with Darwen Council, millions of pounds has been set aside to restore the historic Market Hall – supporting its future at the very heart of the town, just as its proud moto suggests. A planning application will be brought forward this year with the traders now expected to move to a temporary market in early 2025.

The many stalls and businesses will continue to trade right throughout the works – please continue to support them and enjoy all the town centre has to offer, including the many events planned throughout the year. You can find out more about what’s on at: www.darwentowncentre.co.uk

2. Darwen Library

Darwen Library and Theatre – Again, supported by the Darwen Town Deal, Darwen’s beautiful Carnegie library and theatre will also benefit from major investment. Our plans for that are also due to be announced in the coming months with work expected to start this year – we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Before any work does get underway, the Library Theatre will once again be a main venue for the ever-popular Darwen Music Live, which is set to return over the weekend of May 25th and 26th.


Long-Term Plan for Towns – Darwen will also benefit from £20m of new funding through the Government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns scheme. We’re working on a delivery plan in consultation with residents and businesses to ensure our bid focuses on what matters most to you. It’s set to be submitted this summer with the £20m available over the next decade.

Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

There is a huge amount of effort going in behind the scenes to make the very best of this new investment for Darwen.

We want to make sure that what we do is right for the town, for our residents and for the businesses here. We also want to make sure it’ll have real impact.

It’s a huge testament to the Council’s track record of delivering that we keep securing Government investment on this scale – a real stamp of approval on our £1bn vision for the future and the strategic plans we have in place.

Of course, we need to plan carefully as our priority is to create a thriving town centre, one which supports existing businesses, including our market traders, and offers opportunities for the future.

We’re excited to be able to share more on our plans soon – plans focused on what residents and businesses have told us are important to them.

Last week it was also announced that £200,000 has been committed by Blackburn with Darwen Council for playground upgrades over the coming year – at Bold Venture and Whitehall Park. Read more on that by clicking here.

You can read more about the Darwen Town Deal, the Long-Term Plan for Towns and more in the brand-new Shuttle magazine which will be landing through your letterbox soon.

Or you can take a look at the digital version by clicking here.

For all the latest updates, follow Blackburn with Darwen Council on Facebook, Insta and X

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