A PLAN by billionaire Euro Garages brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa to knock down eight homes and build five replacements has been approved despite fierce opposition.

Blackburn with Darwen Council executive member for regeneration, Cllr Phil Riley, said he suspected if such an application had been lodged in parts of south Manchester or north London, no-one would have batted an eyelid.

But dozens of letters of objection had been received against the five planned Billenge End Road homes, dubbed by locals as McMansions because they are all identical.

Lancashire Telegraph: Euro Garages brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa

Speaking after last night's meeting, residents who had objected to the proposal said they were disgusted at the committee's decision but not surprised.

Protestors claimed the proposals fell foul of the council’s local plan, as well as the government’s national planning policy framework.

Speaking against the proposals at a meeting of the council's planning and highways committee, resident Ian Woolley, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, said: "The council has received 30 letters of complaint - none in favour."

Lancashire Telegraph: How the proposed new homes would look

He added: "This matter regarding character is critical. The proposed houses are huge at over 1,500 sq metres and they are identical.

"They very clearly do not comply with the local character.

"They will just dominate the whole area."

Mr Woolley also raised concerns about the felling of more than 50 trees to make way for the homes, plans for which were first revealed in May.

Lancashire Telegraph: The proposed layout of the site

He urged members to defer the application for three months so the council could work with the Issas to reconsider the plans, which had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

But Cllr Riley said: "It strikes me that the main objection to this is all about taste.

"Most of the houses to be knocked down are now empty and the applicant owns the site.

"If the application was refused, the site could be handed over to developers who could want to build a lot of houses there."

Lancashire Telegraph: How the proposed new homes would look

He added: "I am sure the objectors would not be particularly pleased about that."

Objectors have also previously raised fears about the heritage of the site being lost.

Cllr Julie Daley said it was vital that strict conditions were imposed on the development.

She said she welcomed amendments reducing the number of trees to be felled.

Cllr Jacquie Slater added: "It's all well and good everyone saying these trees are going to be protected and looked after but from past experience it doesn't always happen.

"I'm worried this is going to happen again and I must have assurances that these trees will be checked."

Lancashire Telegraph: How the proposed new homes would look

She added: "If anything goes wrong, the council should sue the pants off them and not let them get away with it."

Cllr Suleman Khonat welcomed the development and urged members not to defer a decision.

He said: "I think a lot of residents are concerned about the setting itself but the scheme is set back and hidden.

"We should be encouraging applications like this in the borough."Cllr Riley proposed that the development should be approved and members backed him, voting the application through.