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How innovative design has transformed Blackburn bus station

Most commuters passing through a bus station will most likely not take the time to consider how its design impacts their journey, and will instead hurry through focusing on getting to their destination.

But design is an integral part of making sure those passenger journeys are safe and efficient, and can have a huge impact on the flow of people through a busy concourse.

Through its partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council, Capita was appointed to undertake a major, multi-million pound redesign of Blackburn’s outdated central bus station. The project aimed to improve public transport links in East Lancashire and provide better passenger and driver facilities. The revamped bus station opened to the public on time in May 2016.

This project is a key part of Capita’s recently renewed place-based partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council which, alongside the Salford Urban Vision partnership, is already working towards delivering the Northern Powerhouse.

Our place-based work is designed to deliver key infrastructure projects which attract investment, both public and private, the help authorities create places which attracts people to live, work and play.

Capita’s mission in Blackburn was to create an environmentally stable facility that minimised future maintenance cost, while at the same time designing a flexible building which had the welfare of passengers and bus drivers at its heart.

The new station has also specifically been designed to hold public events, such as community exhibitions.

Its striking design was inspired by cotton weaving looms and drying cotton bundles, in celebration of Blackburn’s industrial heritage, with six sculptural loops supporting the structure. The steel loops alone are worth considering for their scale – each loop:

  • weighs approximately six tonnes
  • is held to the foundation with 16 bolts, each of which is 24mm in diameter, one metre long and weighs 5kg each.
  • has a foundation is 7.5 cubic metres of concrete, weighing 17 tons.
Blackburn bus station

Creating a renewed sense of place is always key when designing and building important public spaces. Blackburn with Darwen Council emphasised the desire to see a dynamic new space for residents and visitors, and the chief executive Harry Catherall has since said the new station sends out the message “that this is a place that is thinking wider, bigger and bolder in everything it does”.

In considering the place story, the public area around the station has been designed to be pleasant, attractive and safe. Not only does it ensure the comfort and safety of people using the station and its surrounding area, the public realm has created a new space that enhances the character of the town centre, and gives visibility to the new, well organised station.

The space has also been designed to offer appropriate and attractive areas of soft and hard landscape with provision for seating, gathering and social activities.

Capita, working with its partners, is extremely proud of Blackburn’s new bus station. It is now a far more efficient, functional and clean space, but at the same time offers a high level of design which gives a nod to the proud heritage of Blackburn.

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