A CORONAVIRUS testing centre near Royal Blackburn Hospital will be in operation until the end of March.

Deloitte MTS, working on behalf of the Government, created a regional testing centre on a section of the Old Bank Lane car park with its 200 car parking spaces in July.

However, the lease is due to end on January 3 and Deloitte applied to Blackburn with Darwen Council to extend the lease until March 31.

The testing centre is able to provide Covid-19 tests for up to 1,000 people a day.

A council report said: "Having an Regional Testing Centre located within the Borough is of great benefit for residents of Blackburn and Darwen and for people who work within the Borough and may wish to book a Covid-19 test."

It added that the testing centre would not have an impact on the hospital.

"Deloitte MTS erected all temporary structures and equipment, along with providing the on-site staff to manage the testing service and provide security and traffic management for the site.

"The remainder of the car park (c.300 spaces) is available for permit users, many of whom work at the hospital and for patients and visitors to the Hospital who would pay and display to park on site.

"Those people who are visiting the RTC do not have to pay a parking fee.

"Pay and display and permit income from the car parking site has been largely unaffected from allocating 200 of the 500 car spaces available on Old Bank Lane for the RTC.

"The hospital have taken steps to minimise the number of staff, patients and visitors on the site at the same time to reduce the spread of the Covid 19 virus.

"As a result there are less people on the Hospital site at the same time so this has reduced the demand for car parking spaces at Old Bank Lane car park.

"The current lease will be amended to reflect the new end date and to reflect the rent payment to the council from 4 January to 31 March 2021."