Start of a new era as demolition of Blackburn's old market hall is completed (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Start of a new era as demolition of Blackburn's old market hall is completed
NEW figures showing an increase in visitors to Blackburn with Darwen have been hailed as evidence that the regeneration of the main town centre is starting to attract shoppers and day trippers.
The positive upturn shows that visitor numbers to the borough rose 3per cent from 3.6million in 2011 to 3.72million in 2012.
It comes as the demolition of the old market halls has been completed, the first stage of the redevelopment of Blackburn town centre.
Work has already started on building an interim bus station on the three-day market site, at Brown Street.
When that opens next month, the Boulevard bus station will shut to allow the start of the £28million Cathedral Quarter development.
In October, construction of the £5million new bus station in Ainsworth Street begins.
And in November, work starts on a mini-boulevard bus interchange by the railway station.
By 2015, the £5million bus complex will be open, with the mini-boulevard interchange opening in March.
Completion of the first stage of the Cathedral Quarter, including an office block, hotel, clergy building, and cloister garden is due by December 2015.
The second phase is due to be built the following year, including a second office block completing the development of what the council hopes will be a ‘world-class 21st century centre to be proud of’.
The figures released by Marketing Lancashire last night also show a 6per cent increase in tourism spend, from £133million to £141.56million.
They also showed the majority of visitors came to the borough for a day visit, with the main area of expenditure being shopping, followed by food and drink.
Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: “These positive figures just show how important tourism is to our local economy.
“We have a lot to offer here in Blackburn, not least the multi-million pound investments in The Mall and Blackburn Market which are really giving the borough a boost, and obviously attracting large amounts of people here.
“And I think the Cathedral Quarter development will only add to this, and could become a real draw for visitors and residents.”
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