A £60,000 indoor BMX and skate park will open in Blackburn later this year, council bosses said.

The first in the borough, it aims to become a regional centre for the sports, attracting up to 50,000 visits a year.

The park will be housed in the former Blackburn Rovers Sports Academy building near Darwen Vale School, built at a cost of £1.4million in 2007 with a grant from the Football Foundation.

The multi-purpose stadium will be used by hundreds of youngsters a week on BMX bikes, skateboards, roller blades and scooters.

The brainchild of borough leader Kate Hollern, it has been welcomed as a major addition to activities for local youngsters meaning they no longer have to travel to Manchester or Preston’s older indoor skateparks.

Coun Hollern said: ”I have met hundreds of young people as part of the Your Agenda meetings and this has clearly been one of their priorities. It came up time and time again and we pledged to look into it. I am delighted to announce one will be opening this summer and it will be a brand new, modern facility which young people will be involved in designing.”

The building, no longer used for football by Rovers’ community trust, has seen its customers move to the nearby Darwen Leisure Centre and Darwen Vale School community sports halls.

Paul Bury, boss of The Cellblock BMX shop in Blackburn, said: “This is fantastic news for the town and for the local young riders – a facility needed for a long time.

“We have hundreds of riders in the borough, including internationally renowned professionals and they have had to travel out of town to ride.

“This will encourage new riders to participate in the sports and give the existing locals a place to call their own.

“We are looking at 50,000 visits a year.”

Anthony Ramsey, owner of designers Art Ramp Parks from Blackburn, said: “We are working closely with the local young skaters and riders to produce something different from all other ramp parks in the UK which will attract riders from all over the world.

“It will be of a standard to hold international competitions and put Blackburn firmly on the map.”