Gladstone View THI Award

Dramatic changes to the setting of King Georges Hall in Blackburn will soon be made thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) award to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Significant public realm, and architectural heritage works to Blakey Terrace are poised to proceed following a HLF contribution gained through the programme’s Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Creating a civic space flanked by key buildings of historic architectural interest from a thoroughfare to a new destination for Blackburn, the proposed works aim to reconnect King George’s Hall with Blakey Terrace.

Blackburn’s first public statue commemorating the People’s Champion, William Gladstone, will remain in situ against a softer background called the ‘Gladstone Garden’, a new green threshold into the Northgate Civic District. Gateways into the space define a change in character and aim to reduce traffic speeds, which in combination with floorscape reconfiguration rebalances pedestrian and vehicular priorities.

Enhancement works support bespoke coffee shops and independent retailers already operating within the area, as well as the King Georges Hall theatre. Opportunities for restaurant tables to spill out from Blakey Terrace and Northgate will activate these frontages and reinvigorate the nighttime economy to form a cultural quarter benefitting from some of Blackburn’s best architectural assets.

The Northgate Townscape Heritage scheme is a £3m project made up of a £1.5m HLF award and £1.5m from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Public realm designs by Planit-IE LLP complement works by Heritage Architects Buttress to realise Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Regeneration Strategy, informed by Colliers International’s regeneration strategy to extend wider Northgate Conservation improvements. Visualisations were produced by Virtual Planit.