"The retail-led regeneration of the site will bring about a renewed vibrancy"
A proposal has been made to turn a vacant former coach works site in Blackburn into a £10 million Asian shopping centre. The plans for it have been revealed.
An application was submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council proposing to transform the East Lancashire Coach Works site on Whalley New Road. The site has been vacant for over 15 years.
The shopping centre is to specialise in Asian weddings and fashion.
It intends to be the first phase of several developments which will be followed by a festival space, banquet hall and restaurant.
Bosses at developer Emaar Ltd explain that the vision is to create an “elegant and cultural” retail space that will attract visitors from nearby towns for Asian wedding shopping.
A 5,000 square metre mall has been proposed which is made up of 22 retail units along an internal covered street.
It will lead to a ground floor food court that features seven smaller units and another restaurant on the upper floor.
A spokesperson for Emaar said: “The scheme is on the site of a former bus depot that has been derelict for over 15 years.
“The retail-led regeneration of the site will bring about a renewed vibrancy within the area.
“The site is situated along a prominent route and has been earmarked by Blackburn with Darwen Council as a location that needs to be redeveloped for alternative use.
“The proposal seeks to address this issue, underpinning a thriving Asian community shopping destination which is already ‘on the map’ drawing people from both the local area and the wider Asian community from further afield.”
According to bosses, the Asian shopping centre would create 100 new jobs.
Staff are required to manage the serviced facility such as security and parking management. Each retail unit will also lead to new jobs being created.
Emaar is also looking to obtain outline approval for phases two and three of the proposed development, which would include a banqueting hall and another restaurant.
One hundred and thirty-seven parking spaces, including nine disabled spaces have been included in the scheme.
Lancashire Telegraph reported that the intention is to have the food court open late into the evening well after the shops have closed.
Councillor Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development, stated:
“It’s a piece of land in private ownership and we have been very keen to see something happen there.”
“We have been working with the owner to bring forward a scheme that would add value to the town but won’t compete with the town centre – we want to complement it.
“We want to see that land back in use. It initially had planning permission for housing a number of years ago but the owner feels he can do better than that and now there’s the idea of an Asian mall.
“The idea is to offer goods and a market place not available anywhere else in the town.
“There’s quite a lot of parking space included as well.
“We want to see the best for the town and the landowner is a Blackburnian who has got the town’s best interests at heart.”