FORMER four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty was the guest of honour as Great Places’ Bowland House in Blackburn was officially unveiled.
Fogarty, who was also the King of the Jungle in 2014, met residents to celebrate the end of the £3.9million refurbishment project.
The project has been a 18-month long collaboration between Great Places, Casey’s, Blackburn with Darwen Council amongst others.
The works include:
- Improving the insulation of the external walls
- Installing new windows and flat entrance doors that have a 60-minute fire rating
- The installation of a sprinkler system to all flats and communal areas and the installation of an innovative evacuation system, which will allow the Fire and Rescue Service to evacuate a single floor or any multiples of floors
- Installing new hot water cylinders, electric showers and communal lighting systems
- Replacing the existing problematic roof coverings with new
- Install new floorcoverings and redecoration of communal areas.
Also, in collaboration with Blackburn College and Bowland House’s art group, special pieces have been created for each floor depicting landmarks and icons of the town, including the guest of honour, nicknamed the Blackburn Bullet, who had a special installation unveiled on the ground floor created by customer Chris Thornley.
Matt Harrison, Great Places’ Chief Executive, said: “Despite a global pandemic and some very difficult weather conditions, our team and our contractor Casey’s have worked together to breathe new life into Bowland House.
“The building was looking tired but we had to wait until we knew more about the terrible Grenfell Tower before work could begin.
“But what has been achieved is incredible. As well as improving the fabric of the building, we have created a digitally-enabled building with a year’s free 5G wifi and provided training and hardware to help residents enjoy the benefits of a digital life.
“I’d like to thank our customers for their patience during the works as most were at home due to the effects of the pandemic, which at times was very difficult to say the least.
“But we’ve had incredible feedback from the people living at Bowland House so hopefully all the hardship has been more than worth it.”
Alan Taylor, Operations Director at Casey, said: “We are thrilled with the transformation of Bowland House. It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with Great Places to deliver this project.
“Together we overcame many challenges to produce a scheme that we could all be every proud of. At Casey our purpose is ‘Improving Lives’ and on this scheme, we were delighted to be able to support residents and the local community with our social value initiatives and leave a lasting legacy.”
Councillor Julie Gunn, Deputy Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Bowland House is an iconic Blackburn building and home to many.
“Great Places are a trusted partner of the Council, it’s fantastic to see such a creative approach to the refurbishment. It’s a significant investment and will play a part in ensuring that the high quality housing standards we want for everybody are achieved.”
Vicky Saunders, Managing Director from BTP Architects, who led on the design for Bowland House said: “We were delighted to work in partnership with Great Places and Casey’s on this flagship scheme to refurbish Bowland House and to explore opportunities for using BIM methodology to assist with building maintenance and fire safety.”
Bowland House was one of three tower blocks built in 1963 and the only one still standing after the others, Ribble and Pendle, were torn down in 2001 to be replaced by homes.