LOCAL businesses and a school concerned about loss of car parking spaces have protested over plans to rebuild Blackburn Spiritualist Church on nearby Princes Street.
They want borough planners to reconsider proposals to move the worship centre several hundred yards from its current home in St Peter Street to the council’s Montague Street car park.
The transfer is key to plans to complete the town’s orbital route allowing the Wainwright ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ to finally have a destination.
After lengthy talks, with both sides accusing each other of delaying tactics, a deal costing the borough more than £500,000 was finally agreed to allow the demolition of the existing church and building a replacement on the pay and display car park between Montague Street and Prince’s Street.
If Blackburn with Darwen council’s planning committee on Thursday were to uphold the objections from traders in King Street and the head of St Anne’s RC Primary School in Feilden Street, the £7 million ring road completion project would be thrown into chaos.
Despite the protests, council planning officials have recommended approval for the new church building saying there is adequate parking provision for shoppers and parents dropping and collecting children nearby.
If councillors approve the proposal, it will bring an end to the long saga which saw the £12 million Wainwright Bridge, started in 2006, left without a destination as the ring road could not be finished.
Now the orbital road is set to be completed in 2014 with the remaining stage of the orbital route linking Bolton Road to Preston Old Road between Freckleton Street and Montague Street.
The development will also allow the completion of the knowledge zone around the college/university campus.
The new church will be rectangular with a dual-pitched roof and two-storey front elevation.
Floor-to-eaves windows and full height brick columns will liven up the front and rear of the new building which will be constructed of red brick and tiles.
There will be 16 car park spaces for worshippers including two for disabled drivers.
Planners told the committee members: “The scale and design of the proposals would harmonise with the locality and would not look out of character in the street.”