THE transformation of Blackburn’s ‘biggest eyesore’ into a £4.8million dementia care home will take a major step towards reality on Thursday.
Councillors are set to give planning permission for the ground-breaking scheme on the site of the former Blackburn Royal Infirmary’s decaying War Memorial Wing.
The final application dashes hopes the mosaic tile floor and ornate stones arches in the 86-year-old building will be preserved in a special memorial garden.
It will provide 64 beds for the frailest pensioners and outreach services for Alzheimers sufferers.
The scheme, by award-winning charity Community Integrated Care, originally aimed to preserve key elements of the original building erected after the First World War, including its coat of arms, foundation stone, mosaic floor and stone arches.
The officer’s report to Thursday’s Blackburn with Darwen borough planning committee reveals while the coat of arms, foundation stone and title stone will be kept, the mosaic and arches are damaged beyond salvage.
Campaigners fighting for the wing’s history welcomed the original blueprint, providing 100 new permanent jobs, when it was unveiled in February.
Blackburn, Darwen and Rural Civic Voice secretary Simon Hugill said: “I welcome that some heritage artefacts will be preserved but am disappointed the mosaics and arches will not be saved. They should look at this again.”
The committee has been recommended by officials to approve the scheme despite a letter of objection paving the way for work on the new building to start this autumn for opening next summer.
Former Blackburn Cathedral warden Gary Wignall, of Heys Lane, said in the letter: “This building in my opinion could still be transformed into a care home with a little imagination, “It is appalling that the building has been left to be vandalised and left in the sorry state we now find it in.”
Council health boss Mohammed Khan said: “This is exactly the kind of facility we need in this borough. I am delighted to see the progress of this important development.”
Ewood councillor Maureen Bateson said: “Unfortunately, this site has become an eyesore and I believe residents in the area are looking forward to its redevelopment.”