Blackburn pub to be transformed into centre for entrepreneurs
A former pub in Blackburn is to be transformed into the county’s first “fab lab” to provide support for entrepreneurs, artists, and inventors.
The pub, which was formerly known as Bentley’s, is expected to be transformed by autumn 2016 with an investment of over £725,000.
The project has been backed by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and Arts Council England, which have provided £451,000 and £275,000 respectively. The money will be used to completely refurbish the building and bring in new equipment.
Project leader Dr Eddie Kirkby said that the building will become an “iconic business hub” that will bring in young people from all over the county.
He added that it will aim to get more people into advanced manufacturing and artistic paths.
“I do not see manufacturing and art as separate entities,” he said. “I want to be able to combine them and make people pro-active in both fields and I hope this will be a place where they can do that.”
The new centre is part of the council’s plans to regenerate Blackburn’s town centre. The town’s Cotton Exchange is also set to be redeveloped, along with 150 properties in the Northgate conservation area, which will be transformed into a Restaurant Quarter.
The plans have been welcomed by Cllr Phil Riley, the borough’s regeneration boss.
“This project will enable the borough’s young people, of which there are many, to come and develop the skills they need in the modern world and to get a job,” he said.