Decision details

Blackburn Town Centre Campus Development

Decision Maker: Executive Board

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Blackburn Town Centre Business Innovation District Phase 1 – Planning & Procurement Stage


The Business Innovation District development was central to the delivery of the £250m investment framework for Blackburn town centre, the largest development of its kind in the region, and a key strategic initiative of the newly adopted Local Plan. The report submitted sought approval for the drawdown of capital funding and approvals required to undertake various activities to support the pre-construction stage of the Blackburn Business Innovation District Phase 1 - Skills and Education Campus (‘Project’) and provided an update of the work completed to date since the announcement of Levelling-Up Funding in March 2023.


RESOLVED – That the Executive Board:


1. Notes the announcement of the award of up to £20m Levelling-Up Funding (‘LUF’) to deliver the Blackburn Business Innovation District Phase 1 - Skills and Education Campus and the ongoing discussions with the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (‘DLUHC’) to agree the final funding total and drawdown profile.

 2. Notes the positive discussions and progress to date with the leadership of the University of Central Lancashire (‘UCLAN’) to agree the proposed relocation of their training subsidiary company, Training 2000, to new purpose-built facilities, Building 1, as indicated on the site masterplan drawings at Annex 1 (existing site plan) and Annex 2 (proposed site plan).

3. Notes future stages of the Project, linked to the drawdown of the Council’s required co-funding, will be presented to a future Executive Board, once costs have been finalised, Government funding arrangements agreed with DLUHC, and any further University functions to be included by UCLAN are confirmed.

4. Notes the Council’s strategic public/private joint venture company, Maple Grove Blackburn Ltd (‘MGB’), an established special purpose joint venture vehicle to support the delivery of our town centre regeneration and growth plans including the redevelopment of the former Thwaites site.

5. Notes the site masterplan drawing at Annex 2 includes outline plans for Building 2 with MGB in advanced discussions with interested parties to determine interest with the delivery of Building 2 likely to be developed by MGB as a follow-on phase. Progress on Building 2 will be reported to a future meeting of the Executive Board. 6. Approves a capital budget of £750,000 for the Project to cover all planning activities including fees, surveys, site investigations, approvals, service enquiries and other costs incurred during the planning and procurement stage of the Project. Note the capital funding is already profiled in the Council’s 2024/25 capital programme and will be used until the LUF funding profile has been agreed with DLUHC.

7. Approves the Council, as shareholder of MGB, to invest £600,000 to fund the preparation and submission of a planning application for the Project and development of an enabling works package.

8. Authorises the Growth Programme Director to commence the procurement of consultants and issue tenders using the Crown Commercial Services (‘CCS’) Framework, or other suitable framework, with the appointment of consultants subject to a future report to the Executive Board.

9. Authorises the Growth Programme Director to commence the procurement of a civil engineering contractor using the Council’s in-house Growth Framework, and to appoint the successful contractor under an Early Contractor Involvement (‘ECI’) pre-construction agreement, to develop designs for a highway, service diversion and enabling works contract, with the appointment of the construction work subject to a future report to the Executive Board, once costs have been finalised.

Report author: PMO Growth

Publication date: 12/04/2024

Date of decision: 11/04/2024

Decided at meeting: 11/04/2024 - Executive Board

Effective from: 19/04/2024

Accompanying Documents: