A HISTORIC town centre street is now festooned with heart-shaped lamps in the evenings to highlight plans to revive the area.

The renovation of Blackburn’s Northgate is a key element of the £3.8million Townscape Heritage Lottery scheme to revitalise the Blakey Moor area.

The initiative includes makeover for the King George’s Hall frontage and a new leisure quarter of cafes, coffee houses and bars, linking in with the new Reel Cinema development off Nab Lane.

The new permanent lights across the street, launched on Valentine’s Day to start a social media #Lover Northgate campaign, aim to underline its place at the heart of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s drive to revive the town centre’s nightlife.

Among the first to enjoy the bright new Northgate were borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley and his partner Ann Parker while Janet and Peter popped in to The Shh! Bar.

Also there were Mandie and Mike celebrating 25 years after meeting at Blackburn College.

Cllr Riley said: “I think these lights are an excellent idea to put the spotlight on what we are doing on Northgate and Blakey Moor.

“They look really good. The lights certainly brightened up a dull weekend in February.

“It is about promoting the Northgate and the Blakey Moor heritage project.

“It is a historic street and part of town and we want to bring it back to its former glory.”

The Townscape Heritage project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, has completed restoration works at the former Ribblesdale Hotel and will soon start work on shopfront improvements to 48 Northgate, the Shh Bar, and the neighbouring and Kwikcut.

Several property owners are developing renovation schemes.

Up to 25 buildings on Northgate and Lord Street West could eventually be refurbished using grants of up to 80 per cent for substantial improvements or the reinstatement of lost architectural details.

Residents of Blackburn are being encouraged to use the hashtag #LoveNorthgate to share on social media their photos of the street and their love stories from Northgate.