KFC has plans to open dozens of new outlets across the North West — including two in East Lancashire.

The fast food giant has published a list of target areas to open restaurants across the country, with Darwen and Rawtenstall among the 543 places for potential franchises.

Lancashire Telegraph:  Google Maps picture of Darwen Google Maps picture of Darwen

*Note - exact target locations were provided by KFC, but may not be precise. 

It comes six months after a KFC opened in Blackburn Mall, on the site of the former Clinton Cards.

Another nearby area listed on KFC’s target locations list is Leyland.

A spokesman for the company said: “We have bold ambitions to have over 1,000 stores in the UK and Ireland by 2020.

“We are looking to build over 50 new stores a year.”

KFC currently has three outlets in Blackburn — The Mall, Whitebirk and Haslingden Road. There are two in Burnley, in Trafalgar Street and Colne Road and two in Chorley — Buckshaw Village and George Street.

Colne, Accrington, Mellor Brook and Barrow Brook are home to one branch each.

Lancashire Telegraph: Google Maps image of RawtenstallGoogle Maps image of Rawtenstall

*Note - exact target locations were provided by KFC, but may not be precise. 

KFC was introduced to the UK in 1965 with its first branch in Preston, but today it operates 850 outlets in the country.

Cllr Roy Davies, who represents the Darwen East ward, said he would welcome the fast food giant to town if they decided to open a restaurant.

He said: “We have got a lot of restaurants in Darwen but we want to have more businesses that would make people come into Darwen and that is what would happen with this.

“We want to make people live in Darwen and shop here and, with the likes of KFC coming here, they will want to come back.

“We have got to make decisions that when shops close, do we want it to be another takeaway or would we like to have a restaurant like KFC?”

Cllr Phil Riley, who is in charge of regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We are always pleased to see recognised brands looking to come to our town.

“I think we can always take these things as a positive sign of confidence of what is going on and see it as them seeing the good things happening in Darwen.”

Cllr Jacqueline Oakes, Rossendale Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “It would depend on the actual location. There is a process (planning) we need to follow. I am aware of issues with obesity at some sites, but we are always aware that KFC is very popular with residents and, at this stage, we do not want to turn anyone away.”

Other Lancashire locations being targeted are Lytham and Ormskirk, as well as Greater Manchester sites in Bolton, Swinton, Salford and Tyldesley.