THE creation of a multi-coloured sculpture in the centre of a Blackburn park has prevented an historic cannon battery from being demolished.

The Colourfields sculpture, the first of six designs being created as part of the Panopticons series, is nearing completion in Corporation Park.

The sculpture, part of an initiative to draw more visitors to East Lancashire, involves creating a coloured walkway which juts out from the top of the cannon battery, creating a viewing point from which visitors will be able to see a large part of the town.

Each of the sculptures is costing several hundred thousand pounds, and bosses at Blackburn with Darwen Council confirmed that the project had actually saved the battery.

Coun Dave Smith, executive member for leisure, said: "Blackburn with Darwen Council is delighted that work on the Panopticon Colourfields in Corporation Park is nearing completion and that Black-burn will have the first Panopticon in the series planned for East Lancashire.

The park's former cannon battery is being transformed into a unique and colourful viewing point.

"The design and construction of Colourfields has enabled the base of the cannon battery to be pres-erved rather than dismantled, as would otherwise have been necessary owing to deterioration. Generations to come will now be able to visit the site and enjoy the spectacular views it offers over Blackburn and beyond."

Around £3million is being spent improving Corporation Park, named by English Heritage as one of the 10 best parks in the country.

The money from Panopticons has enabled repairs to take place, strengthening the battery.

It was installed for the park's opening in 1857 to house two Russian cannons captured during the Crimean War and presented to the town as a trophy by the government.

On a clear day, Lytham St Annes, Southport and Fleetwood can all be seen from the top.

Mid Pennine Arts, which is co-ordinating the project across East Lancashire, hopes that the works of art in the area's six boroughs will encourage people out into the countryside and bring new visitors to the area.