THE vehicle lanes are going down, the glass is going up and the paint is being applied making the building site on Ainsworth Street start to look like a bus station.

With work starting on the roof it is on timetable to open the £5 million project in early summer.

Blackburn and District Chamber of Trade president Tony Duckworth welcomed the clear signs of progress at the town's new gateway.

The building is a key part of the £40 million Pennine Reach scheme to speed buses between Hyndburn, Blackburn and Darwen.

Yesterday the Lancashire Telegraph revealed a new grander entrance is to be built on the Ainsworth Street side of Blackburn's Mall transforming a neglected part of the shopping centre The work, part of a wider facelift, will provide direct access to the new bus station.

With work complete on the facelift of the Railway Station and work on the £33 million Cathedral Quarter development on target for a December completion, regeneration of Blackburn's central retail area should be complete and running smoothly for the Christmas shopping rush.

Mr Duckworth said: "I am delighted to see the rapid progress that is being made on this project.

"It will provide an attractive and efficient gateway to the retail areas of Blackburn.

"I am glad it is on timetable for a summer opening, "My concern is if the Mall's plans leave the area beside it still looking like a construction site."

He is also keen to hear news of what will happen to the top end of the 'Old Market' site, currently being used a temporary bus station, when the new transport interchange moves to its new home.

In November Blackburn with Darwen council announced it was to buy the neighbouring Exchange Building to boost its chances of luring a flagship upmarket shopping development for the old market site.

The bid to bring a major high-quality retail player launched in March 2014 has so far failed to deliver results..

Senior councillors has hoped Manchester firm Northpoint Developments would have a shortlist of potential occupants by the end of last year.

But there has been no announcement of progress so far.

Mr Duckworth said: "We now need to know what is happening to the top end of the market site and who the occupants will be.

"That is the next piece of the jigsaw."

In the £33 million Cathedral Quarter development much of the stonework and glass panels are on the the office block Premier Inn.

The superstructure of the £6 million clergy court attached to the cathedral is also nearly complete with stonework is being applied to the lower parts.

The court is the suite of residential buildings complete with cloister garden at a major Church of England complex for 600 years.