Blackburn Cathedral, Blackburn

Following an invited competition, Planit-IE was selected by the Blackburn Cathedral Quarter Partnership, to lead the masterplanning and public realm design of a new mixed-use development. The partnership is a joint venture between Maple Grove Developments; Blackburn with Darwin Borough Council and the Church Commissioners. The principal of the scheme places the Cathedral back at the heart of Blackburn’s communities, by opening up its precincts, introducing a series of new ‘edge buildings’ and the formation of a new square and gardens.

The uses consist of new offices, a hotel and restaurant, alongside the newly created ‘Clergy Court’ – a discrete, linked series of townhouses and apartments for Cathedral staff and their families surrounding a cloister garden. As part of the overall project, the Cathedral crypt has been remodeled and a new café, Northcote run by East Lancashire’s Michelin-starred celebrity chef Nigel Haworth, now front onto the square.

With the opening of the first ‘Urban Room’ – a product of the Farrell Review – encouraging the public to engage with the built environment, Blackburn and the Cathedral Quarter is set to become a real destination of the North.