£3m ‘restaurant quarter’ expected to attract chains to Blackburn

Café Barista, York University 4

A £3m proposal to transform Blackburn’s historic Blakey Moor and Northgate into a ‘restaurant quarter’ featuring cafes, coffee houses and eateries has been submitted as part of a Heritage Lottery cash bid.

The scheme will see key Victorian buildings in Blackburn town centre made over to attract cafes, coffee houses and eateries, including national chains, to create a ‘visitor honeypot’.

According to a report, the bid for £1.5m of lottery money matched by £1.5m of council cash supplemented by private finding has been submitted to the borough’s ruling executive board.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, borough regeneration boss Phil Riley, said: “This historic area is potentially attractive to restaurants, cafes and coffee houses.

“It would seem optimal for the ‘The Townscape Heritage Project’ to nurture a restaurant quarter using Blakey Moor Terrace and the former Baroque building as a focal point with two large restaurants. With the Thyme restaurant already and the Clergy Court refectory, Nando’s, and the new office block cafe/dessert bar in the pipeline, we hope to attract major national chains to revive Blackburn’s nightlife.”

There are plans to fully restore Blakey Moor Terrace and Baroque pub premises, give King George’s Hall a facelift and refurbish 20 shop frontages along Northgate and Lord Street West.

Central to the five-year project to restore the 19th-century heart of the town centre is a complete renovation of Blakey Moor Terrace and the former Baroque pub to host two major restaurants kick-starting the regeneration and Blackburn’s nightlife.

According to the paper, the Premier Inn within the £34m Cathedral Quarter development opened its ‘Thyme Restaurant’ recently with plans to open a refectory in the new Clergy Court for public use in the coming months.

Nando’s is set to open an outlet in the Vue cinema complex this summer with plans for a cafe/dessert bar to open on the ground floor of the One Cathedral Square office block.

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