THE hunt is on to find a site for a park and ride scheme to reduce congestion in Blackburn town centre.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has confirmed it is spending £40,000 of its annual transport allowance from the Government on looking for a suitable site.

They carried out a trial over Christmas, running from the car park of Blackburn Rovers, and are now looking for a permanent site.

Coun Andy Kay, in charge of regeneration, said: "It is something we have been committed to for a while but we need to find a site which works, and one people will use."

The study should be complete in time for the council to include in their next transport settlement from the Government.

Dozens of projects are set to be started from April.

New cycle lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian areas, bridge strengthening and improvements to existing roads are all planned by the council.

Key projects include:

l £200,000 to create bus priority and pedestrian areas in Fielden Street and Cardwell Place

l £100,000 to look at schemes to improve access along the A666

l £700,000 to strengthen Hob Lane bridge, Moorgate canal bridge and Whalley Old Road/ Robinson Street bridge

Elsewhere, Grimshaw Park, Haslingden Road, Yew Tree Drive and Preston New Road will all benefit from maintenance, while a £40,000 to link Whitebirk's industrial area to cycle paths along the Leeds and Liverpool canal have also been confirmed.

The town centre masterplan, unveiled in December, includes uncovering the old River Blakewater, which runs under Ainsworth Street, to create a pedestrianised area.

That study should lead to a decision on whether the scheme is possible, or whether a new river will have to be re-created above ground.

And £20,000 will also be spent improving signs around the town centre.