BOROUGH leisure boss Damian Talbot has assured councillors that residents concerned about losing their gym for a BMX and skatepark in Blackburn can be accommodated nearby.

A petition signed by 45 people threatened to put a spoke in plans for new scheme using the Blackburn Rovers Sports Arena building. Coun Talbot hopes the park, the first in the borough,will become a regional centre for the sports, attracting thousands of enthusiasts when it opens later this year.

He told Blackburn with Darwen’s executive board he was confident users would be happy to use similar fitness facilities at Darwen Vale School less than 200 yards away. The academy was built at a cost of £1.4million in 2007 with a grant from the Football Foundation.

Coun Talbot said: “We have been unable to contact the lead petitioner, but I am confident that users of the gym at BRSA will be happy to use the more recently-built fitness facilities at Darwen Vale school.”