THE development of Blackburn’s ambitious £28million Cathedral Quarter is set for a major step forward next week.
Councillors are recommended to approve proposals to provide a complex including a hotel, the first clergy court and cloister garden for a major Church building for 570 years, restaurants shops, public square and bus interchange next to the railways station next week.
Officials have told Blackburn with Darwen planning committee to give the scheme the green light despite objections to moving the Queen Victoria Statue from the Boulevard and the demolition of 20th Century Jubilee House.
The project is a key part of the transformation of the Boulevard and west of the town centre after the construction of The Mall shopping centre and new market and plans for a £5million new bus station in Ainsworth Street.
Three applications for the 118,000 square foot project, including conservation area and listed building demolition consent, are recommended for approval at the plan- ning committee meeting on Thursday.
They involve relocating the statue, which has been objected to by the Victorian Society, and demolishing Jubilee House causing an objection from the 20th Century Society. Victorian St Mary’s House will also be knocked down.
Council regeneration boss Dave Harling said: “If approved, it will be another step towards the completion of an ambitious 15-year plan, which has already seen massive investment in the regeneration of the town centre, and will result in about 350 jobs. This will be something we can all be proud of.”
Cathedral Canon Andrew Hindley said: “The achievement of planning permission will be another milestone. The scheme will cement the cathedral’s status as the architectural jewel in Blackburn’s crown.”
The development will see relocation of the war memorial and gravestones next to St Mary’s House, a new car park, and the strengthening of the River Blakewater Culvert is due for completion in 2015.