THE latest stage of a £3.8million scheme to create a leisure and restaurant quarter in the Victorian heart of Blackburn has been completed.

The £200,000 renovation of 14 and 20 Lord Street West has been finished bringing the two 19th Century properties back into use as a creative hub based round the Prism Studios and Prism Contemporary Gallery.

The complex will also house Pennine Lancashire art commissioners Super Slow Way, who have relocated from Burnley, and design agency Source Creative.

Tonight the revamped premises reopen with a exhibition by Irish artist Pascal Ungerer.

The former shops and warehouses on Lord Street West, dating back to around 1878 are a key part of the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project.

Restoration works are also well underway at neighbouring 10 to 12 Lord Street West and set to complete this Summer. The properties have stood vacant since Mellor’s Wire Works closed in 2012.

The £3.8m project, financed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Blackburn with Darwen Council, has already seen the renovation of the Baroque pub, the beginning of the restoration of Blakey Moor Terrace and the upgrading of properties in Northgate.

The project will also see a makeover for King George’s Hall and the creation of a new Jubilee Square.

The work on 14 and 20 Lord Street West, has transformed the buildings inside and out, bringing upper floors back into use while retaining the distinctive Victorian façades.

Jamie Holman, artistic director of Prism Contemporary Gallery said: “The heritage renovations and redevelopment of Lord Street West have provided a space for local creatives, artists, designers and commissioners to bring world class studios and galleries to Blackburn town centre.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: “These works were essential to secure the long-term future of historic properties on Lord Street West. Significant private investment has also been made at 9 Lord Street West (former Campbell’s Amusements) and together these projects have transformed the street.”

The work at 10 to 12 Lord Street West will convert the building back into two ground floor shops and reconfigure it to allow for two first-floor flats to be created in a second phase of works. 12 will open as a vintage and second-hand furniture business and 10 will be let for a retail or food and drink use. The overall project is scheduled to be complete by 2023