top of page

Plans to redevelop fire-wrecked historic town centre church unveiled

Details and images have been revealed for the reconstruction of a historic Grade II listed former church destroyed by a fire in April 2019.


A CGI image of the Blackburn Town Centre Masterplan with the rebuiilt St John's Church in the centre


Details and images have been revealed for the reconstruction of a historic Grade II listed former church destroyed by a fire in April 2019.


Artist's impressions show how St John’s Church, in Victoria Street in Blackburn town centre will look when it has been rebuilt as an 'innovation hub'.


A planning application has been submitted for the £3.75 million plus restoration to transform the landmark building into a high-quality, sustainable work space – providing offices, meeting rooms and more as part of a new Tech Innovation Quarter in Blackburn.


If approved, it is hoped building work on the reconstruction will start in Autumn next year,


The 9,000 sq ft of new office space would be spread over four floors – with a proposed new roof space – and is part of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s ambitious £250m Blackburn Town Centre Masterplan, including a new Business Innovation District.


The building, once home to the Bureau Centre for the Arts, was gutted by an accidental fire in April 2019, with flames visible across the town.


Lancashire Telegraph: The fire in 2019


Blackburn with Darwen Council's leader, Cllr Phil Riley, said: “Submitting this new planning application is an important next step in securing the future of St John’s Church.


“The historic building, with its bell tower, has long been a prominent building on the Blackburn town centre skyline and its part of the character of our town.


“We’ve been working hard with award-winning architects, OMI on these new plans ensuring that St John’s history can be celebrated with a strong, new future – a future that builds on the borough’s strong reputation for entrepreneurism and enviable record for successful business start-ups.”


Livesey with Pleasington Conservative Cllr Derek Hardman, who has been pressing the council on the future of the building since the fire, said: "This is very welcome but it is about time.


"We have been waiting a long while for this.


"I hope the council can now restore this magnificent building to its former glory."


St John’s Church, in the Richmond Terrace and St John’s Conservation Area, dates back to 1788 and was used as a place of worship up until 1975 when it closed and was later transferred to council ownership.


The development is part of the first phase of the Blackburn Town Centre Masterplan with the new CGI images showing how that whole area would be transformed.


The new office space, within the Tech Innovation Quarter which also links to the neighbouring Making Rooms, would boast 20 new office units and pods together with co-working space and meeting rooms.


Also due to come forward soon, as part of the first set of works, is a skills and education campus backed by £20m of new Levelling Up funding from Government.


The council received an insurance payout of £3.75m for the fire damage in August 2021.


The wider masterplan includes:


Relocating Morrisons to a new store on the former Thwaites brewery site and upgrading the supermarket's existing car park for public use


New, low-carbon town centre living accommodation


Improved public open spaces and increased cycle and pedestrian routes.


Conservative regeneration spokesperson, Cllr Paul Marrow, said: "The ruined church has been an eyesore for some years now and its good that something is finally happening.


"We shall be examining the plans in detail to make sure we get the best for a beautiful building.


"This should kick start the regeneration of that side of town."


Cllr Riley added: “As a council, we’re working hard to strengthen the future of our town centres.


“The £250m Blackburn Town Centre Masterplan is believed to be the largest town centre regeneration scheme of its type in the whole region, and we have our new Blakey Moor Cultural Quarter in full development too, with work just starting on the college's iconic Victoria Building.


“In Darwen, the town centre will benefit from once-in-a-lifetime investment through the Town Deal, which will support the refurbishment of key heritage buildings, including the Market Hall and Darwen Library Theatre.


“This is all part of our bold £1 billion vision for the future of Blackburn with Darwen and our mission to create a more prosperous borough.”


If the planning application is agreed, the development work will be put out to tender with a view to the contractors being on site as Autumn 2024.


Source: yahoo.com


5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page