CHART star and X Factor winner Matt Cardle will switch on this year’s Christmas lights on Thursday, November 21, as a signal that the council is serious about promoting the town centre as a social and cultural centre.

As well as major efforts to boost King George’s Hall as a music venue and revive the town’s nightlife, there will be a string of events during the day.

Next year sees the start of an annual programme of four major two-week festivals a year which will come to the central area based round the season and celebrations such as Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night.

The success of Liverpool’s ‘Sea Odyssey’ giant puppets and Clitheroe’s food festival are the inspiration for the move.

It will be backed up by monthly one-off events in public areas such as King William Street and Church Street.

Smaller street markets, like Manchester’s, and arts events will be added through the year.

The Central Library, currently undergoing a major £2 million refurbishment to return it to its 1920s’ glory, will reopen on Sunday’s from 10am until 4pm from later this year.

The town’s museum will see its current two and a half day opening extended in 2014 as its unique collections are promoted.

They include five paintings by famous British impressionist, J M W Turner, a collection of Russian icons, an exhibition of rare Japanese prints and an archive of Blackburn, the cotton industry and their history.

Council leisure boss Damian Talbot said: “I believe it is right to reopen one of the busiest libraries in the country on Sundays as part of making the town centre a cultural hub for the community.”