COUNCIL bosses have appointed designers to come up with a scheme for a key part of the multi-million regeneration of Blackburn's Blakey Moor.

Earlier this year, Blackburn with Darwen Council sought expressions of interest from design firms interested in contributing to the council's plan to breathe new life into the row of terraced properties along Blakey Moor opposite King George's Hall and near the new Reel Cinema site.

The preferred option developed to date comprises the redevelopment of the Blakey Moor Terrace for restaurant or cafe use.

As part of the scheme, the council wants to see the terrace repaired and restored to its historic design and split into two double-storey units.

Manchester's Northern Quarter has been taken as inspiration for the scheme.

The council's director of growth and development, Martin Kelly, has approved the appointment of Leeds-based architects Group Ginger to come up with designs for the redevelopment of the terrace.

Rival bids by Manchester-based Buttress Architects and Conception Architects of Nottingham were unsuccessful.

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Mr Kelly said: "The terrace is in a generally in very poor condition with varying degrees of disrepair across the individual properties.

"It is located in the centre of Blackburn on a busy thoroughfare between the town's main shopping centre and the Blackburn College and University campus.

"The key aims of the project are to restore and bring back into use the historic terrace and to help reinvigorate the town's cultural, leisure and evening economy around King Georges Hall by providing high quality units for food and drink."

Group Ginger's portfolio includes work at Leeds College of Music, the Royal Armouries Museum and Scarborough Market Hall.

According to a timetable set out in the tender documents, planning applications for the development could be submitted as early as December with work on site to start in March and expected completion by December 2020.

Last year, it was revealed more than £500,000 was forked out for two properties standing in the way of the multi-million pound regeneration scheme.

Blackburn with Darwen Council paid the amount to businessman John Khattir for The Godfather takeaway and the neighbouring Blakey Moor Newsagents to kick-start the regeneration of Blakey Moor.

A Freedom of Information request to find out how much the council paid was turned down by the council in May 2018.

But following an appeal, council officers have disclosed the price of the deal was £535,000.