A CHIP shop sign announcing its new owners are English has been branded ‘racist’.

Paul Bradbury and his wife Rachel have taken over the Chippy On The Green in Hapton Road, Padiham.

They have hung a banner outside which says ‘Under new management with English owners’.

Calls have been made from Burnley’s MP and the mayor of Padiham for it to be taken down.

But Mr Bradbury remains defiant and said people who think it’s racist are narrow-minded.

The shop, which sells traditional English takeaways alongside Chinese food, kebabs and pizza, re-opened on Tuesday.

It has been run by English people of East Asian descent and of Greek descent.

Mr Bradbury, who took the business over 11 days ago, said: “I’m not racist. Anyone who thinks I’m a bigot is narrow-minded.

“People want to know they are going to be served by somebody English. People have said to us that they are glad somebody English is serving them and that the sign made them want to come in.

“They’ve never had anyone in the shop before. We are advertising that we are English. You wouldn’t want your fish and chips served to you by someone Turkish, or from wherever, because it wouldn’t be as good a recipe as it would be from somebody English.

“It doesn’t matter what colour or race you are, we’ll serve you. We welcome everyone here. I won’t be taking the sign down.

“We don’t want to upset anyone and we aren’t racist. We wouldn’t be serving foreign food if we were racist.”

Gordon Birtwistle, MP for Burnley, said: “I would rather it didn’t say what it did. It would be better if it said ‘serving good quality food to the community’. If it is causing consternation to people, it should either be taken down or changed.”

Mayor of Padiham, Coun Vincent Pridden said: “I don’t think it’s a very positive message to be putting out in the community. If it’s causing upset, the council should look into it.”

Gary Curson, a teacher at West Craven High School in Barnoldswick who lives near the shop, said he would not set foot in the takeaway again.

He said racism was ‘alive and well in Padiham’.

He said: “We’ve used that chip shop when it was run by other people, who were well liked and respected in the community. I wouldn’t go in there now and neither would many of the people I know.

“Half a dozen local people I’ve spoken to since yesterday have said they are disgusted by what it says.

“In this day and age, it shouldn’t matter who you are being served by.

“It’s not a positive message to put out to children which go to local schools that you should prefer to go into a shop run by one sort of people. It’s not good for them or for the community.

“Burnley is supposed to be an enterprising, multi-cultural place. Asian people run the shop just down the road. This gives a very bad impression of the area and could well upset people.”

Ward coun Joanne Greenwood said: “It’s not helpful at all and it could well upset people and I can see why. I certainly don’t think it’s necessary to say that.”