A TOWN centre conservation area looks set to get a new pub-restaurant and a quirky beer garden.

Councillors will tomorrow night consider applications to convert the former Barclays Bank in Church Street, Darwen, into licensed premises and to add an open-air drinking area to the nearby Cin Cin gin and cocktail bar.

Officers have recommended that Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Planning Committee approve both proposals with conditions.

This is despite objections to both schemes from neighbours on grounds of noise and disturbance.

Nearby Ainsworth Funerals have objected to both over a conflict with the nature of their business which regularly involves bereaved families visiting their premises during the day, evenings and at weekends.

Gary Perkins — who already owns the Taps Bar, Spitfire and The Vault in Darwen — wants to turn the vacant former Barclays branch into The Bank Bar and Kitchen complete with an outside decking and seating area.

Cin Cin owner Dominic Holmes has applied for permission for an open-air drinking area on adjacent open land used as an informal parking and outdoor drinking area for the Church Bank Street bar.

The centrepiece will be a shipping container converted into a bar with two ‘pergolas’ to cover customers, new trees, stone walls and iron railings.

The officers reports on both plans say: “The development will deliver a quality scheme, which will enhance the external setting of the Darwen Town Centre Conservation Area.

As well as the visual benefits of the development, it will supplement the existing retail and leisure offers within the Darwen town centre area, thereby contributing towards the sustainability of the town centre.

“Accordingly, the proposal is consistent with the borough’s overarching growth strategy. 

"It is also satisfactory from a technical point of view, with all issues having been addressed through the application, or capable of being controlled or mitigated through planning conditions.”