BLACKBURN’S new Poundstretcher store defied an order to close over a planning row and traded yesterday - but with several aisles blocked off.

The budget chain is locked in a dispute with Blackburn with Darwen Council over planning permission.

The council sent the company, which has 400 stores across Britain, a notice ordering it to close for 28 days and accused it of deliberately trying to avoid the planning process.

In a letter, council deputy chief executive Andrew Lightfoot, wrote: “The council is seriously concerned that your store has opened without any planning application, or even pre-application discussions being submitted and, as such, we have issued a temporary stop notice requiring you to close the store for 28 days, pending resolution of the matter.”

An enforcement notice also sent to Poundstretcher only from the council said it couldn’t sell items it didn’t have permission to sell, leaving the company confused and seeking clarification.

The council yesterday appeared happy to allow the store to open with restricted sales, although an officially opening by Blackburn with Darwen mayor Salim Mulla was cancelled.

Mr Lightfoot said: “We are pleased that they have responded to the notice and complied with the planning conditions for the unit.

“We are encouraged that they recognise they are in breach of the planning regulations.”

Yesterday, aisles containing items the company wasn’t allowed to sell, including food, clothing and shoes, personal care products, toys, china, fancy goods and giftware, and travel goods, were closed off to shoppers.

The area manager for the store, which opened on Tuesday and employs 28 people, declined to comment.