THE government has given the final approval a £750,000 grant to pay for the full restoration of Darwen Tower and fiannce three other key projects in the town.

The cash was announced today and includes investment to improve AFC Darwen's Anchor Ground, to upgrade the Junction 4 Skatepark and a feasibility study for a new elite cricket academy at Darwen Vale as the basis for a new sports village.

The grant, part of the Darwen Town Deal, includes £250,000 to complete the finance needed to restore the iconic Jubilee Tower for which local supporters had already raised more than £75,000.

Chairman of the town deal board Wayne Wild, director of WEC Group, said: “This really is fantastic news for our town.

“There’s been a big community fundraising effort to be able to restore the tower for future generations and this funding will mean the much-needed work will be able to get underway as soon as possible.

“The money for the sporting facilities in the town also gives us the chance to look to develop a new sports village."

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's regeneration boss, said: “News like this really will be welcomed.

“For many residents in Darwen, the Tower is a symbol of home and the moors have been busier than ever this summer by residents really cherishing the fantastic outdoor space they have right on their doorsteps.

“This funding will top up the cash raised by the community – superbly led by the Rotary Club - and funding pledged by the Town Council.”

Darwen’s MP, Jake Berry said: “I’ve said from the very beginning that this is a once in a generation chance to make a real difference to our town and the Darwen Town Deal Board has grasped that with both hands.

“Securing this £750,000 Government funding is just the first step. Whenever I meet with residents, the Tower is always highlighted as a priority”

Mr Berry raised the grant in the House of Commons on Thursday and it was welcomed by Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg who said: “ It is great to hear that the towns fund has supported the imposing octagonal Darwen tower, which has stood over Lancashire for 122 years commemorating Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee."

The town deal board is now working on a bid for a share of a further £25million.