BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has stepped up its lobbying of government to allow businesses in the coronavirus restriction zones to reopen.

It is also calling for more financial support for firms which have suffered during the lockdown.

The government is looking at the council’s proposals but has said it wants to consider the matter further.

Last week, an area covering nine parts of the borough, including Darwen, was allowed to follow national restrictions and businesses like gyms were allowed to reopen.

However, the council believes businesses in the eight other wards with continuing tighter rules should also be allowed to open.

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "Businesses have suffered terribly over the last few months.

"It’s simply common sense to allow these businesses to reopen as it causes lots of anomalies such as a resident not being able to go to a gym on their street but can go to Darwen. The council is very clear we will work with businesses to make them Covid-secure.

"The government has indicated it is willing to listen to our case.

"We also continue to lobby government for financial support for all our businesses who have suffered since we became an area of intervention."