A PLAN to invest millions of pounds in a new town centre cinema has been branded "nuts".

Tory group leader John Slater slammed the Reel Cinema development, which will go ahead on the old Waves Water Fun Centre site in Nab Lane, Blackburn.

Executive board members rubber-stamped final plans to start developing the former Waves pool site in Nab Lane.

The cinema complex will be built by the council but leased to Reel for an initial 20 years.

Council bosses say rental income will cover the development costs and leave the borough owning the building and freehold.

The £6.5m scheme is for a single storey eight-screen cinema incorporating a bar and food and drink units.

It will be complimented by a further £3.5m underground car park and a public realm outdoor space, better linking the Northgate/King George’s Hall/Blackburn College area of town.

Cllr Slater said: "I'm totally against this. The business case does not stack up.

"If a developer thought it could make money they would do it themselves.

"We shouldn't be doing this - you're nuts."

But borough regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, launched into a staunch defence of the plan.

He said: "This is another piece of regeneration in the town that the opposition are against.

"We believe in the strategy we have followed. Some of your more enlightened colleagues even supported the Cathedral Quarter in its early days because they understood what we are trying to do.

"If we want to try and improve difficult boroughs like Blackburn with Darwen, the council has to play an active part and that is what we're doing."