DARWEN Tower, the town’s football club and the J4 Skate Park are set to get £250,000 of Whitehall cash each.

The grants will come from a special £100million government fund to boost 101 urban centres.

Ministers have allocated £750,000 for the Darwen Town Deal and asked it to bring forward three ‘accelerated projects’. Bids have to be in by August 14 and the money spent by March 31.

A meeting of the special Darwen Town Deal Board responsible for allocating the cash grants has approved work to start on submissions for £250,000 each for the restoration of Darwen Tower, the development of an ‘urban sports village’ at the J4 Skate Park and to create new sporting and community facilities at AFC Darwen’s Anchor Ground.

Its chairman Wayne Wild of WEC Group said: “This is like Christmas coming early. It will be really welcome news for the people of Darwen, especially those working on the tower restoration campaign.”

His report to the board said: “The project proposals set out in this report both celebrate the illustrious history of Darwen and look forward to a new future.

“The Tower is central to defining and shaping the cultural identity of Darwen and plays a key role in promoting the area as a place to live, visit and enjoy.

“The Skate Park and AFC Darwen proposals could create a sporting and leisure spatial cluster of regional significance while serving local needs.”

The proposal to renovate Darwen Tower, built in 1898, says: “There is a highly-developed project proposal to repair and upgrade the Tower, the emblem of Darwen and a landmark of regional significance. Darwen Rotary has led community fund raising activities that have helped to secure £60,000 for this project. A maximum town deal contribution of £250,000 would secure the improvement of this cherished local monument.”

On the J4 Skate Park scheme the report says: “The proposal would create a new urban sports village, which would increase the current capacity by 300 per cent by adding a new outdoor, all-weather arena. There is the potential to establish Darwen as the Northern-base of the British Olympic BMX and skateboard teams.”

The AFC Darwen proposal says that a £500,000 private investment programme recently delivered a new 3G pitch and upgraded the club’s changing facilities and the town deal cash would ‘accelerate the provision and upgrade of new sporting and community facilities’.

Darwen’s MP Jake Berry said: “This new funding means we can progress some quick win projects residents have told us they’d like brought forward.”

The new £750,000 is in addition to up to £25m that could be secured for Darwen long-term as part of the main Town Deal Fund.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: “The board now has three good proposals it can work on.”

Cllr John East, leader of Darwen Town Council, said: “I really welcome these proposals and I’m pleased that Darwen Tower is the top priority. I will now look at what the town council can do to support them.”