CONTROVERSY is growing over the future home of Blackburn’s iconic Queen Victoria statue when the £28 million Cathedral Quarter is complete in 2015.

Borough regeneration boss Dave Harling has promised to look at a variety of sites after a suggestion the 108-year-old landmark should be relocated to the gates of Corporation Park.

Church authorities want to move it within their new scheme while Tory planning spokesman Alan Cottam is determined it should stay on the Boulevard opposite the railway station.

Blackburn, Darwen and Rural Civic Voice Secretary Simon Hugill wants Queen Victoria kept in a prominent place in the town centre and not hidden in the new development.

Former Blackburn Drama Club secretary Eric Nolan has now revealed the main entrance to Corporation Park was the original choice of those behind the statue.

The 70-year-old was a director of James Hargreaves and Sons Ltd wholesale tobacconists and confectioners whose founder was the moving spirit behind commemorating Britain’s longest reigning monarch after her death in 1901.

He said: “James Hargreaves proposed Corporation Park as the original site and I think that this might now be a more suitable site rather than her being lost and out of place in a modern Cathedral Quarter Development.

“The classic entrance would perfectly match the grandeur of the statue of our great queen.”

Coun Cottam said: “I think Queen Victoria should stay where she is, where everybody knows where to find her.

“Moving her is a waste of money.”

Cathedral Canon Andrew Hindley said: "The statue of Queen Victoria is an important part of Blackburn's cultural heritage and we intend to ensure it is preserved as part of the Cathedral development work.

“There is a proposed position for the statue a few yards from its current site.”

Coun Harling said: “I am open to all options people propose.

“We will look at them carefully but want to ensure the new position is suitable for her dignity.”

Mr Hugill said: “I think the statue should stay in the centre of Blackburn which is a classic Victorian mill town.

“Giving her a prominent place in the new Cathedral Quarter would combine the history of Blackburn with the new development of the centre in a fitting manner.”