It was announced today that Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has received initial support for a Townscape Heritage bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Gladstone’s View, Northgate Townscape Heritage Project.
A grant of £1.5 million has been earmarked for the project which aims to deliver a number of capital projects and wider activities focused on a central area within the Northgate Conservation Area in Blackburn Town Centre.
Development funding of £50,000 has also been awarded to help the Council progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.
A compact area focused around a grand statue of William Gladstone, Northgate is an area of great potential with a rich heritage and culture in terms of its buildings and people. The Project aims to support Northgate to achieve its full potential through physical and social regeneration alongside the Council’s wider area based strategies being delivered to make Northgate a more attractive and vibrant place to live, work and visit.
The project includes plans to restore the Blakey Moor building and significant environmental improvements to the area between King Georges Hall and Blakey Moor. Also external repair and restoration works to 20 small/mid-size historic properties spanning Northgate and Lower Northgate through third party grants.
The project would also deliver a Heritage Skills and Training Programme targeting local student and the young unemployed as well as a community engagement programme including events and wider heritage activities throughout the lifetime of the project.
The project has now entered the second stage of the funding process so detailed plans can be developed. Following the outcome of a Stage 2 submission, the project would begin in early 2016.
Maureen Bateson MBE, Executive Member for Regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said: “This is an exciting prospect for the Northgate Area. If secured this funding will help preserve heritage assets and support prosperity in the area. The Council recognises Northgate as a key area within the town centre being home to King Georges Hall Theatre and a strong independent retail core and has already undertaken work to restore the Central Library and Town Hall.
We now have a Stage 2 process to go through and there is much work still to be done but such investment would afford significant physical improvements, increase confidence in the area and attract new investment”.
Ben Greener, HLF’s Regeneration Advisor, said: “Regeneration involves transforming places. Heritage is often central to this process, whether in the form of restoring a much-loved landmark or refurbishing boarded-up buildings.
“We believe that historic townscapes such as Gladstone’s View, Northgate are the beating heart of local places. Past Heritage Lottery Fund research shows that even small changes, such as improving shop fronts or restoring a building’s historic features, can make a real difference.”