A TEAM of workmen and surveyors from new contractors Eric Wright have started clearing the site around Blackburn’s half-built £4.7million bus station.

A handful of staff are visible with diggers and other vehicles removing spoil around the complex, while specialists check the state of progress and supplies before work can fully resume.


Site manager Peter Harrison hopes full-scale work will begin again soon and said the firm, which took over the contract from Barnes Group last month, is committed to completing the construction quickly.

The weekend signs of progress followed Blackburn with Darwen council’s executive board rejecting calls for compensation for market stallholders and Railway Road traders over the delays to the public transport complex, originally due to open in January.

On Thursday senior Labour councillors agreed to refuse the stallholders’ call for rent and service charge reductions to compensate them. It also declined a similar compensation call from Railway Road traders.

The decision came despite market stallholders threatening a series of daily closures over the council’s refusal of financial assistance.

Borough regeneration boss Phil Riley told colleagues debating the market traders’ petition: “In the end, this is a group of people who are asking for a payout of money collected from council tax payers.

“We are not really able to go along with that.”

On the second petition, he said: “This is a breakaway group on the corner of Railway Road. In practical terms the work is complete.

“People are now back walking around there.

“It will be better when the bus station is completed, but it’s now back to how it was.”

Market traders’ protest leaders declined to comment on the executive board decision but Hake Boat chippy owner Zeki Atas said angry Railway Road shop owners would support any closure campaign.

Cllr Riley is confident that the bus station will be open by Christmas but an Eric Wright newsletter to local businesses refused to give a completion date.

It says: “At the moment we are undertaking surveys and pre-procuring specialist subcontractors and materials. Once this process is completed, we will be able to give a firm date.”