£1.5m to revive high streets in Blackburn and Great Harwood - and make them greener

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Only 10 areas in the UK qualified for the cash.

Blackpool, Blackburn and Great Harwood are getting £500,000 each in a bid to breathe new life and greenery into their high streets.

The money is coming from the Government’s Levelling Up pot, and aims to restore the high streets with attractive changes that entice residents and visitors back to shops. Blackpool is the only other area in Lancashire to qualify for the cash, with 10 areas across England targeted in total.

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The Minister for Levelling Up Jacob Young said: “High streets are the beating heart of our communities and we’re determined to keep them alive and flourishing through our levelling up support.  Coupled with the new powers we’re giving to councils to rent out persistently empty spaces, our High Street Accelerators programme will make our towns more welcoming and pleasant places for people to enjoy.” 

What will happen in Blackburn?

In Blackburn town centre, King William Street will be remodelled into a more flexible and open space for the community to spend time in and accommodate events. The high street layout will be simplified with improved street furniture, a new play feature and new planting and trees added to key areas such as the three main entrances to the shopping centre and existing pavement cafes. These changes will aim to improve the quality and biodiversity of the environment and create a more welcoming high street that entices visitors throughout the daytime and evening. A volunteer programme will be set up to help maintain the new spaces. 

King William Street, BlackburnKing William Street, Blackburn
King William Street, Blackburn | Google

What will happen in Great Harwood?

Improvements to Queen Street, Blackburn Road and Church Street in Great Harwood will create new and aesthetically pleasing areas for residents to enjoy and socialise while shopping. Uninviting areas with dilapidated plants and street furniture will be replaced with new seating areas and fresh planting and trees, including the front of a community building.

“Absolutely delighted”

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Lauren Zawadzki, Chair of Blackburn’s King William Street High Street Accelerator Partnership said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the full £500,000 of new green space funding for King William Street. We are determined to improve that whole area, including through greening and cleaning – creating a space that residents and visitors can enjoy and businesses can thrive in.

“With the changing landscape of the high street, we want to do something that is truly innovative and transformational, but also something that is sustainable and will have a long-term impact for that whole area. To ensure we get it right, we’ll be appointing a skilled design team who can take our ideas and engage with interested parties to see how the space can better work, including for activities and events.

“We can’t wait to share the plans and see the difference they can help make. Blackburn is just one of only 10 towns to benefit from the High Street Accelerator funding and we’re already off to a really good start – working together to make a real difference.”

“Thrilled”

Peter Holden, Chair of Great Harwood High Street Accelerator Panel said: “We’re thrilled with the news that our plans to green Great Harwood’s high streets have been approved. This is fantastic news for the town’s residents and local businesses. The Panel looks forward to working alongside Hyndburn Borough Council to get started on finalising the details and bring this project to life. 

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 “Greener spaces will not only enhance the visual appeal of the high street, but we believe it will create a more vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for the community, helping local businesses to thrive. This project is for all of Great Harwood and we look forward to seeing it flourish.” 

 The £1.5 million funding comes from the government’s High Street Accelerators pilot programme launched in December last year, which is backed up to £7 million. The funding follows an earlier grant of £237,000 to each of these 10 areas, to help them kickstart long-term regeneration plans with residents and businesses.

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