Blackburn with Darwen Council is seeking a company to undertake the £975,000 replacement of the decaying roof of the historic Imperial Mill.

The authority's growth boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood has given approval for the start of a tendering exercise for the work.

Early in May, it was revealed that emergency works are required to stop the 'inevitable' collapse of the roof of the council-owned historic landmark building in Gorse Street, Blackburn.

A planning application for the repairs said: "The condition survey makes clear why the repair of the roofs is necessary, as if water ingress is allowed to worsen, it would inevitably lead to the roof’s collapse, consequently causing almost irreparable damage to the heritage asset as a whole."

Blackburn with Darwen Council bought the imposing and historic mill in February 2023 with the aim of restoring it as a a job-creating hub for creative industries and cultural activities

The authority has so far secured £1 million of Levelling Up cash for the project and is seeking heritage, lottery and other government grants.

In a report to council colleagues, Cllr Mahmood said: "The council intends to tender for a suitably qualified and experienced contractor to undertake the roof replacement and associated works to Imperial Mill following.

"I approve the proposed procurement strategy for the tendering exercise to obtain prices and appoint a suitably qualified contractor.

"As part of the due diligence process to inform the council’s Levelling Up Partnership proposals, further works have been undertaken to identify and sequence the works required to address the fundamental property issues at the Imperial Mill building.

"The condition of the internal and external fabric is largely as expected.

"There are several time-critical issues that need to be addressed urgently to prevent further deterioration.

"The priority is to address the rainwater ingress from the main and other subsidiary roofs, which are due to the condition of the asphalt roofing, and parapet walls.

"During the last three months, temporary repairs have been undertaken to provide breathing space to procure permanent roof repairs and replacement.

"It is now proposed to procure permanent repairs and undertake the associated repairs to the parapets.

"The roof at Imperial Mill is in a very poor condition, with significant deterioration over many years.

"This was well appreciated at the time of the purchase of the Imperial Mill building.

"If the roof is not repaired further damage will be experienced to the fabric of the building, requiring increased costs to the building in further years.

"The works are expected to be in the region of £975,000 to be funded through the Levelling Up Partnership Programme."