THIS is how Blackburn’s new Cathedral Close, complete with cloister garden and refectory, will look in three years time.

The new images of the religious heart of the development have been released as borough councillors prepare to consider the ambitious £25 million Cathedral Quarter proposals in the run up Christmas.

While the overall scheme will provide the town centre with a 60-bed hotel, glistening new office blocks and a restaurant, church leaders have incorporated an area for clergy, staff and the public to enjoy quiet and reflection.

The plans, submitted to Blackburn with Darwen council last month, include the first full set of Cathedral Close buildings and Cloister Gardens for 570 years, putting Lancashire’s pre-eminent church building on the same level as great Medieval complexes like Durham and Chester.

The project wraps a new suite of church buildings, housing all the clergy and staff accommodation, refectory or clerical restaurant, offices and function ‘State Room’ round a medieval style ‘Cloister Garth’ (or Garden).

There will also be a covered cloister-style glass-walled walkway along the fourth side situated next to the Nave and South Transept of the existing structure.

It will be open to the public on weekdays and part of Sundays but in evenings will allow clergy, staff and guests an open area for quiet prayer, rest, and meditation just as the monks did in medieval times.