An amazing afternoon looking at everything that’s happening in our project area……..and that’s before we have spent any of the planned £3.5 million Townscape Heritage funding!
The Bees Knees Blackburn, Lord Street West opens TONIGHT and is looking fantastic – they’ve done an impressive job and we can’t wait to see the place buzzing with customers.
It doesn’t seem long since the Bees Knees approached us with their ideas for the former Bank on Lord Street West. Left vacant and unloved for many years, the property was in a terrible condition and with the asking price still relatively high there was little hope for the buildings future. Due to its size and the scale of works needed, we had to keep it as a reserve property in our project – so potentially no Townscape Heritage Grant would be available. But the guys at Bees Knees weren’t put off, and to our amazement they purchased the building anyway and set to work.
We were able to offer them a small property improvement grant funded by the Council which contributed to the costs of minor stone repair works to the front façade and enhancements to their new signage. To support their first year’s trading, we have also been able to award them 12 months 100% discount on Business Rates.
The scale of the works was immense, but it soon started to take shape.
Unsympathetic bank modernisation over the years and more recent water damage mean few original features remain, but where they do every effort has been made to retain and enhance them.
Amazingly, wood panelling in the board room survived and although there is still some work to do, this has been lovingly restored. The plaster ceiling has also been repaired and this impressive room is soon to be used for meetings once again.
This afternoon when we visited, workers were still busy finishing paint work, laying carpet and installing furniture. But, at the same time staff are stocking the bar and getting ready for opening night in a couple of hours.
The end result is stunning. Not only has this secured the future of an important historic building for years to come, the Bees Knees brings a new quality offer to both Blackburn’s day and evening offer and contributes massively to our ambitious regeneration plans for the area.
And they’ll soon have company……..
Shh bar at 48 Northgate will be open by the end of the month and brings something really quirky to Blackburn.
Refurb work is also speeding ahead at The Lemon Tree on Blakey Moor and they won’t be far behind, opening for great food, drink and music before Christmas.
More news on these soon.