THESE new aerial pictures from an unmanned ‘drone’ aircraft show the scale of work being undertaken to prepare Blackburn town centre for the new £33m Cathedral Quarter development.

They reveal the scale, and width, of the rarely exposed River Blakewater, running the length of the former Boulevard.

Major buildings, such as St Mary’s House and Jubilee House, have been demolished to clear the ground for the ambitious scheme, which includes a Clergy Court, cloister garden, Premier Inn hotel, restaurants, shops, public land- scaped gardens, and office blocks.

Progress has already been made on the new roof of the culvert to allow construction of the office and hotel on either side. Piling will start next month.

Cathedral Canon Andrew Hindley said: “These amazing photographs demonstrate the massive amount of redevelopment taking place in the Cathedral Quarter.

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“The scheme, as can be seen, is well underway. The benefits will be amazing.”

Council regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: “This is an exciting project which will transform the town centre, and create hundreds of jobs.

“There has been a great deal of interest in this current phase because the River Blakewater has been uncovered for the first time in many years for work on the culvert.

“Once the roof has been completed on the culvert, the new office and hotel will rise from the ground above.”

Adrian Taylor, senior director of contractors Eric Wright Civil Engineering, said: “The technical challenges presented while ren-ewing the culvert structure give our team the opport-unity to exhibit their skills on a job of this scale.

“This new infrastructure will provide the springb-oard for the rest of the dev-elopment.”

The images can be seen by logging onto http://suaveairphotos.co.uk/general/4/Blackburn/