East Lancashire's premier entertainment venue in Blackburn is to get a multi-million pound renovation.

The £8 million revamp of Blackburn's King George's Hall will be paid for from an extra Levelling Up grant of £20m to Blackburn with Darwen Council from the government, announced earlier today.

The remainder of the new cash will be spent on other projects including on the refurbishment of the nearby Tony’s Ballroom, the redevelopment of Blackburn's historic town centre The Exchange building, and transforming the Imperial Mill bought by the authority in February last year.

Details of exactly how the money will be spent are now being finalised with Whitehall civil servants, after Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove's announcement to the Convention for the North being held in Leeds.

The council's long-term ambition to upgrade King George's Hall with a multi-million pound facelift was first revealed in the Lancashire Telegraph in February 2019.

Lancashire Telegraph: King George's Hall will get a revampKing George's Hall will get a revamp

Since then the authority has been looking for grants for a full refurbishment of the building - opened in 1921 and last extensively renovated in 1994 - after a specialist survey found it structurally sound.

Any refurbishment will concentrate on the interior, including the 2,000 seater balconied main auditorium, and smaller 750 Windsor Suite for shows and functions.

The building also includes the new Akbar's restaurant in the former Blakey's Café/Bar.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader, Councillor Phil Riley, has described the news as 'brilliant' while Conservative group regeneration spokesperson Cllr Paul Marrow hailed it as 'fantastic'.

The grant will be a valuable cash injection to the £9m transformation of Grade II heritage listed The Exchange in King William Street, opened in 1865, into community and work spaces with an upgraded café which was granted planning permission last month.

Lancashire Telegraph: The ExchangeThe Exchange

It will also be music to the ears of campaigners seeking to revive Tony's Ballroom in Town Hall Street - a key dance venue in Blackburn town centre from the 1920s through to Northern Soul in the 1990s before closure in 2003.

The grant will also be a boost to the council's plans to restore and regenerate the giant 123-year-old Imperial Mill in Gorse Street for employment and cultural use.

The latest £20m takes the grand total of Levelling Up funding awarded by the government to Blackburn with Darwen Council to more than £125m.

Lancashire Telegraph: Imperial Mill in BlackburnImperial Mill in Blackburn

Cllr Riley said: "This is just brilliant.

"The announcement comes after months of hard work between council and government officials, who have together developed a strong investment package to support town centre growth priorities.

"At the heart of the bid is an impressive £8m to renovate the ever-popular King George’s Hall - a key element of Blackburn’s new £50m Cultural Quarter.

"There’ll also be new investment for the likes of Tony’s Ballroom, The Exchange and Imperial Mill.

"I am delighted with the money for King George's Hall which is an vital part of the cultural, artistic and leisure life of the borough and wider area.

Lancashire Telegraph: Council leader Phil Riley is ecstatic at the investmentCouncil leader Phil Riley is ecstatic at the investment

"This will prepare it for remaining so for another 100 years.

"The good news for Blackburn with Darwen just keeps on coming. We really are on a roll.”

Cllr Marrow said: "This is fantastic news.

"It is really good to see the government continuing to invest in the borough and the North West.

"King George's Hall is the jewel in the crown of Blackburn town centre and this investment dovetails with the money spent on other projects including the renovation of Blakey Moor Terrace."

Mr Gove said on social media: "This £20m levelling up partnership with Blackburn with Darwen will preserve heritage buildings and create new community and arts space."