Only three businesses remain in what was once dubbed the ‘upmarket’ shopping district of Blackburn that used to be bustling with shoppers.

A number of retailers in Fleming Square have closed, with some moving out to new locations in recent years.

The area in the town centre is just off Mincing Lane.

It underwent a rejuvenation 20 years ago with money spent on the paving, landscaping and seating to celebrate its Victorian heritage.

Tucked away in one corner of the square is the George Dewhurst Memorial Drinking Fountain. 

Funding had come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, European and Regional Development Fund and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Having previously housed a variety of difference businesses, only Exchange Coffee Company, Jeff Stone Hairdressers and Fenton Sports Injury Clinic remain open and trading along the cobbled stretch.

Eve Lingerie, which remained open through lockdowns moved to Preston Old Road, whilst Scarlett Hair Salon have also closed at this location.

Nomad Clothing, which was located next to Exchange Coffee's café and retail shop has also moved to Preston Old Road and remains open at the new location.

(Image: Nq/LT) To the left here is the memorial drinking fountain and a seating area which had been redevelopmed

Nearby, the closure of the Barclays branch in Darwen Street in May dealt a major blow to the area.

The building housing the businesses - the old Exchange Arcade, constructed in 1849 - is not owned by the council but by a private landlord.

In contrast, Market Street Lane, which runs parallel to Fleming Square, has a number of businesses and retailers which remain open, such Top End Traders, Year 23 Tattoo and Skinfinity Aesthetics Clinic.

(Image: Nq/LT)  Jeff Stone Hairdressers is one of the longest established salons in Blackburn

Adrian Garner, aka Clitheroe Kate, runs Bar Ibiza opposite the square.

He said: “Some years ago the council spent a great deal of money on Fleming Square. 

“Since then, it seems to of been neglected. When you think we are in the designated Cathedral Quarter district - the whole area around the cathedral should be looked after and encouraged to thrive. 

“This should be the jewel in the crown of Blackburn, but the number of empty shops in Darwen Street and Fleming Square area is not good.

“Barclays closing down along the stretch was not good either.”

One shopper, who visits the area regularly, said: “It was the posh side of town with some great businesses.

“A number of them have closed and just it looks less and less appealing with bits of the cobbles patched up or falling off.

“I think the car park needs work on it and it needs to be brought back to the standards it once was.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council has been contacted for comment.