Council creates board to shape £25m regeneration plans

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has created a new board to shape £25m regeneration plans for Darwen.

Wayne Wild, group commercial director of WEC Group, one of the town’s biggest employers, has been invited to chair the new ‘Darwen Deal Board’ made up of business and community leaders.

Other members include Darwen adidas designer and global brand consultant, Gary Aspden, chair of Darwen Town Centre Partnership, John Sturgess, and founder of Keep Darwen Tidy, Janet Pearce, amongst others.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has been tasked with creating the board, which will work with residents to draw up an ‘investment plan’ to be presented to Government in summer.

Early suggestions include re-developing the town centre and Market Hall, investing in new employment and skills opportunities and improving local parks and ‘cultural icons’ such as Darwen Tower.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s executive member for growth and development, will act as vice chair.

He said: ‘Darwen has been a focus for major council investment in recent years with a range of new facilities and services created, including the new Market Square.

‘This new Town Deal funding could build on that and unlock new regeneration opportunities. The Darwen Deal Board will be the driving force behind the proposals we submit to Government.

‘It’s still early days and we’re awaiting more details on the criteria for applying for the funding, but this is a very strong board which is made up of people who have the skills and expertise to produce a strong investment plan for the town.’

In November 2018, New Start reported on how Blackburn has bucked the trend of declining town centres.

Since winning the ‘High Street of the Year’ prize in 2016, the town centre has gone from strength to strength, with a string of new businesses opening and 250,000 extra visitors coming into the town centre.

Photo Credit – Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council


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