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Blackburn Town Centre Regeneration

Blackburn's flagship town centre regeneration project has won the national Design Award in the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) Town Centre Environment Awards. Some 30 towns and cities across the UK entered the competition - now in its 13 th year - which aims to encourage and spotlight town and city centre regeneration.

Blackburn won the award for its work on the Cathedral Quarter as part of a five-year plan to develop a series of themed districts through the town. Judges praised the 'intelligent creation' of new civic space and said: 'A thoughtful combination of natural and synthetic materials, planting and sculpture reflecting the town's historic evolution has created a safe, pleasant and convenient thoroughfare that serves to unify the centre and encourage walking.'

The Council and its partner Capita have taken forward regeneration of the historic Cathedral Quarter through a series of strategic environmental schemes to the three key areas within in it - Church Street, Fleming Square and Darwen Street.

Previously a busy dual carriageway dividing the town in two, Church Street has been pedestrianised and the use of porphyry, granite and stainless steel has given it a contemporary character. The street is linked by Ian Randall's dramatic Transitions sculpture comprising of five pieces made from bronze, granite and stainless steel which represent the change in the town through the growth of the textile industry and its ambitions for the future.

Church Street with 'Transitions' by artist Ian Randall

Church Street, with 'Transitions' by Ian Randall

Work to the land around the historic Exchange Arcade buildings, Fleming Square, has also transformed a former traffic rat run into an attractive, safe and pleasant public space. Artist Stephen Broadbent and poet Julia Copus worked with owners and tenants to design a walled Italianate garden. A line of plane trees has been retained and forms the base for the main art feature in the square. The bronze artwork Possibility incorporates a poem and spirals around the trees creating seating areas under their shade.

Fleming Square with 'Possiblity' by Stephen Broadbent and Julia Copus

Fleming Square, with 'Possibility' by Stephen Broadbent and Julia Copus

Environmental improvements have transformed Darwen Street, with quality design and materials that are both sympathetic to its historic buildings and complementary to the improvements on Church Street. Work to Darwen Street has provided an improved environment for traders and shoppers in this area.

Follow this link to download Balckburn’s Town Centre Strategy 2003-2008 in pdf format


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