BLACKBURN’S long-delayed new £4.7million bus station has a firm official opening date of Sunday May 1.

The news has been welcomed despite being a month after the last deadline and 16 months later than originally planned.


Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, exclusively revealed the new date to the Lancashire Telegraph yesterday.

He previously hoped to have at least part of the hi-tech glass structure open before Easter.

As specialist contractors laid the ‘hardicrete’ bus apron surface at the Ainsworth Street site, Cllr Riley, said: “The new Blackburn bus station will open on May 1.

“Contractors Eric Wright will hand it over to the council on April 24.

“There will then be a week of safety checks and familiarising staff with all the technology involved.

“It will be an important, exciting and long-awaited day for the borough and bus users.

“I had hoped to be able to open at least part of the bus station before Easter but the safety of passengers and staff had to be paramount.

“I am now looking forward to the opening of this landmark building in the town.”

The bus station was originally due to open in December 2014 but problems dogged the contract and in June last year the council sacked original contractors Thomas Barnes Group of Bury.

They were replaced with Eric Wright Construction responsible for the Cathedral Quarter development.

In January Cllr Riley promised the bus station would open by Easter.

Its counterpart in Accrington will be completed by May 13 and opened to the public on Sunday May 22 to allow time for testing and staff training.

The two new bus stations are key parts of the £40million Pennine Reach scheme transforming public transport links between Blackburn with Darwen and Hyndburn. It is expected to ‘go live’ on May 22.

Borough Tory group leader, Cllr Mike Lee, said: “This is very welcome but I just hope it happens.

“We have had several opening dates already.”

Blackburn and District Chamber of Trade president Tony Duckworth said: “It has been a problematic contract and its opening has been long-awaited.”

Malcolm Marsden, of Whittakers Butchers on the adjoining Blackburn Market, said: “Finally. Better late than never.”

Eric Wright Construction managing director John Wilson said: “Things have really come together over recent weeks and we’ve now turned our attention to vital finishing touches.

“We’re currently focusing our attention on external paving and tarmac to the bus apron and everything is on track to ensure the bus station is operational by early May.”