WORK has begun on building homes for business tycoon Euro Garages brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa.

Eight homes in Billinge End Road have been demolished and the foundations are being laid for five very large replacement houses.

Plans were given the go-ahead back in September last year for the homes, dubbed by locals as McMansions, because they are all identical.

Nearby residents feared the development could ruin the character of the area.

Protestors at the planning application’s decision meeting claimed the plans 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.”

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 last year.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the planning application read: “The existing dwellings are all early 20th century with no distinguished architectural merit in varying styles.”

The Blackburn-born brothers are among the richest families in the UK and own thousands of petrol stations and convenience stores across the world.

Their first venture was buying a petrol forecourt in Bury for £150,000 in 2001 before rapidly expanding across East Lancashire and the UK creating Euro Garages.

The company – headquartered on Blackburn’s Beehive Trading Park in Haslingden Road – merged with private equity firm TDR Capital’s European Forecourt Retail Group in 2016 to create the EG Group as it expanded rapidly into Europe and the US.

Together the brothers have an estimated worth of more than £1billion.