WORK is underway as plans to open a new restaurant in Blackburn centre gather momentum.

Last month, it was confirmed council officers could negotiate over the former Blakey’s Cafe Bar, Northgate, with the party behind eastZeast Blackburn. with a view to agreeing a deal for the firm to take on the lease for the premises in Northgate.

Council bosses say a deal has been struck for the former Blakey’s Cafe Bar, Northgate, and the eastZeast Blackburn restaurant is set to open in June as long as the lease is approved by executive board members next week.

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesman said a report is to be considered at the executive board meeting next Thursday which recommends the granting of the lease for the former Blakey’s space to ‘eastZeast Blackburn Ltd’.

The spokesman added: “The council is currently undertaking works in the former Blakey’s space, this includes repairs to the air handling system and replacing some of the existing units which are dilapidated.

“We are also removing the main bar and erecting a stud wall partition where the main bar was located. As part of the internal reconfiguration of services, the box office will be relocated to the entrance foyer of King George’s Hall. Subject to members approving the granting of a lease, it would be signed by ‘eastZeast Blackburn Ltd’ in April and the new restaurant would open in June 2018.”

In a Facebook post, a spokesman for eastZeast Blackburn Ltd said: “We are looking for an experienced chef to run our new concept daytime cafe.

“The ideal candidate to fill this position should be highly motivated, enthusiastic towards food and the food industry, have a strong and friendly work ethic and most importantly be a team player.

“Working alongside the management you will be responsible for devising a brand new menu in time for our launch (June) which will consist of traditional British dishes and be willing to be trained in international cuisine for our cafe menu.”

Two days of talks with eastZeast Blackburn Ltd’s directors were held behind the scenes last month after fears the deal may not go ahead. This came about after complaints that the issue of branding rights had yet to be fully clarified from Kabir Rayman, director of eastZeast Group (UK) Ltd, incorporated in 2015 after the original partnership split. Mr Rayman had asked the council to delay approval until legal details were ironed out.

His company has well-known restaurants in Manchester, Bury, Birmingham and Preston.

But council bosses were satisfied issues surrounding the branding rights of the restaurant had been clarified.

The bosses behind the restaurant are looking for an experienced chef to run a new concept daytime cafe, which will consist of traditional British dishes.