THE third floor of a town centre's flagship £8million office block is now empty after the tenant moved out.

The Organic Insurance Group moved into One Cathedral Square in Blackburn in February 2017 but transferred its operations to Ribchester this summer.

Now agents Knight Frank's Manchester Office have started marketing the 5,800 square foot of high-quality office space as well as a 3,400 sq ft suite of offices on the second floor which was never finally filled.

The six-storey Grade A block is the centrepiece of Blackburn town centres £34m Cathedral Quarter development which also included a Premier Inn Hotel, a Turtle Bay restaurant, Cafe Northcote and a £6m suite of clergy accommodation.

David Porter of Frank Knight said he was 'confident' of re-letting the third floor and that negotiations were under way with potential tenants.

But Cllr John Slater, Blackburn with Darwen Council Conservative Group leader, said: "It's a blow.'

Darwen East Liberal Democrat Cllr Roy Davies said: "This office block is struggling."

Cllr Phil Riley, the borough's regeneration boss said: "These things happen. We are working very hard to let the floor again.

"Organic changed its business model and moved out.

"I don't think this will affect the Eric Wright Group's plans for a second office block. I don't expect them to proceed until its subsidiary Maple Grove Developments has secured an anchor tenant."

Mr Porter said: "Organic moved out this summer and we are now actively marketing the third floor and we have had a lot of interest.

"It is fitted out and ready to use and I am confident we will let it soon. We are in negotiations with a number of potential tenants at a guide price of £14.50 per square foot.

"We are also still seeking to let a smaller suite of offices on the second floor."

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Cllr Slater said: "Obviously it's a blow. If a company moves from Blackburn to new offices the Ribble Valley you have to ask is the council's business model for the town centre flawed?"

Cllr Davies said: "This office block is struggling. It looks like it is too expensive."

Chris Knight, director of Organic which is now based at Manor Court in Salesbury Hall Road in Ribchester, said: "The Blackburn office was fantastic and served its purpose but there was just too much space for us. We have restructured."

The ground floor of One Cathedral Square is occupied by the A Mano Italian Restaurant and Starbucks coffee shop,

the first floor by Capita, half the second by events organiser YouGov, the fourth by rail company Northern and the top floor by recruitment firm The Cummins Mellor Group.