Akbar’s on the menu for Blackburn’s £50m Cultural Quarter

Published 22nd Mar 2023

Blackburn with Darwen Council is in advanced discussions with Akbar’s to join its £50m new Cultural Quarter.

Akbar’s already has successful Indian cuisine restaurants in major cities, including Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

It’s just opened a brand new restaurant in Newcastle too and is now in talks with Blackburn with Darwen Council to operate the Cultural Quarter’s flagship restaurant in the former Blakey’s – part of King George’s Hall.

Councillor Quesir Mahmood, the Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Growth and Development said: “Akbar’s coming to town would be a huge coup.

“They’re renowned for offering quality Indian cuisine with busy restaurants in major cities right across the country.

“Talks are well underway to now bring them here to Blackburn – what a fantastic opportunity this would be for us and for them.”

Blackburn’s £50m Cultural Quarter centres around the historic King George’s Hall which last year celebrated its centenary with special gigs including Liam Gallagher and Florence + the Machine.

Just this week, cranes were also seen progressing work on the £5m scheme at the neighbouring Blakey Moor Terrace and work is also being completed on the new Saffron Street and Toro’s Steakhouse with those set to open in the coming weeks and months.

Councillor Mahmood added: “We have an impressive £1bn vision for the future here in Blackburn with Darwen and we’re carving out a strong reputation for growth.

“Our town centres will see substantial investment in the coming years and central to that is our bid to develop a really strong cultural offer too.

“In Blackburn we have the £250m Town Centre Masterplan for the former Thwaites site – this is believed to be the largest town centre regeneration scheme of its type in the whole region.

“And just last week we secured £20m of Government funding to bring forward a new skills and education campus of national significance there with the Government also naming Blackburn with Darwen as a new Levelling Up Partner.

“We have a great story to tell here in our borough and it’d be fantastic to have Akbar’s be part of that.”

The Council is in advanced talks with Akbar’s around a potential lease for the building.

The successful chain started out as a small, 28 seater restaurant headed up by Shabir Hussain.

Now there’s 10 restaurants boasting 67 chefs and more than 300 staff.

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