THE people behind a £3.8million town centre heritage project have expressed faith in its completion next year by revealing the future of a historic row of buildings at its heart.

A new graphic showing the redeveloped Blakey Moor Terrace in Blackburn set against recently completed environmental improvements has been exclusively released to the Lancashire Telegraph.

And the scheme’s bosses hope the facelift can still be completed by the end of next year despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Victorian buildings, opposite King George’s Hall and near the new Reel Cinema, will host two units suitable for food and drink, retail, or arts uses as the centrepiece of a new cultural and leisure quarter in Blackburn town centre.

They are a key element in the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project.

Partners Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have agreed a revised design to be submitted for planning approval later this month.

Cllr Phil Riley, the borough’s regeneration boss, said: “This finished design includes some significant changes, particularly at the rear where land has been assembled to produce an attractive recreational space that will really enhance the Blakey Moor Terrace.

“After delays - including, of course, the coronavirus lockdown - the council is keen to see the area bustling with activity that will eventually see these historic buildings restored and adding to the economic and social life of the town.

“Subject to construction being able to safely start under current coronavirus guidance, it is hoped that work could begin onsite as soon as October lasting between 12 and 18 months.

“A formal submission of the planning application will be made this month, followed by the construction contract going out to tender. “

In December, Group Ginger Architects were appointed to revised and update the design of the terrace.

The project will see the restoration of the historic building’s structure and external shell with a re-interpretation of the original shop fronts updated with timber and decorative metal detailing, while preserving the historical quality of the terrace and original upper floor windows.

The design includes proposals for a large rear courtyard using south-facing and currently inaccessible land at the back of the terrace.

A spokesman for Group Ginger Architects said: “The council showed great foresight in acquiring this historic building and it has been our pleasure to respond to their ambitious brief to repair and revitalise the building; providing a vision for Blakey Moor Terrace, that celebrates activity and secures the buildings long-term future which is complementary to the enhanced cultural quarter of Blackburn town centre.”

Cllr John Slater, leader of the council Conservative group, said: “I am always pleased to see regeneration in either of our towns - Blackburn or Darwen. It is good to see this project moving forward but I will still want to see the detail and the costings.”

According to historic maps, the terrace was constructed between 1848 and 1894 and was part of a complex of ground floor shops and first floor offices.

David Renwick, Northern England director at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “This is a major step forward. The sensitive restoration and reuse of Blakey Moor Terrace after decades of near dereliction will be a real achievement.”