DEMOLITION of the Darwen three-day Market building has begun.

The building will be knocked down to make way for a £1.67million three-zone events space, which will open up views to key Darwen landmarks including the town hall, St Peter’s Church and Darwen Tower.

Construction on the site is not due to start until next spring, however council bosses say it will be ready in time for the Christmas lights switch-on.

Executive member for Regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Cllr Phil Riley, said: “I’m delighted to be moving forward with these plans and really excited about how this new scheme will help to transform this area of the town centre.

“We will be putting a layer of tarmac over the site to give us a space we can use for the Christmas lights switch-on in November.”

Last month Darwen residents were given the opportunity to share their views on the design plans through a website called Heart of Darwen.

More than 500 people responded saying what they wanted to see and four key themes emerged; a multi-functional space to attract residents to the town centre, somewhere to hold events and pop-up markets, a place to build on the night time economy, and a design that reflected the heritage of the town.

Cllr Reilly said: “Residents told us that they wanted something that reflects the vibrancy of the town and this space will allow that to happen by supporting the day and night time economy."

, breathing new life into the heart of the town centre and providing space for entrepreneurship and a year round programme of events.”

Since then, the Heart of Darwen project has shifted its focus onto future proofing the town centre and plans have now begun for the six-day-market.

Project co-ordinator Liam Dargan said: “We are now seeking ideas and actions that will help to future proof the town centre as a whole.

“The Six-Day Victorian Market has recently lost some traders and footfall."

“It’s a good time to starting thinking differently about how to keep the market relevant.”

Project members have organised a trip to London on September 23 in partnership with Kingston School of Art and London’s Old Spitalfields Market.

The one-off event will give 15 to 20 Darwen residents the chance to travel to London for the day and explore the markets in the area.

They will also take part in a workshop, where they will be able to reflect on what they have learnt, discovered and been inspired by throughout the day

Mr Dargan said: “With the workshop that we have organised in London, we are hoping to help the community discover new, creative and experimental ways to improve the town’s day-time atmosphere.”

Cost of travel will be covered. To apply visit