TWO town centre bars have won the right to have open-air drinking areas but been banned from piping amplified music outside.

The prohibition was placed on the Darwen hostelries by councillors to stop disturbance to a nearby chapel of rest and mosque. The move followed objections to the two new ‘beer gardens’ in the town’s conservation area.

Entrepreneur Gary Perkins will now be able to complete his conversion of the former Barclays Bank in Church Street, Darwen, into a pub-restaurant with decking and seating area with double doors and glass balustrade in the rear yard.

Blackburn with Darwen Council planning committee also approved new timber windows with awnings at the front of the building.

The councillors also give permission for a ‘quirky’ open-air drinking area next to the Cin Cin gin and cocktail bar on nearby Church Bank Street, currently open land. It includes a shipping container converted into a bar and two ‘pergolas’ to cover customers.

Conservative opposition group leader Cllr John Slater addressed the meeting regarding his concerns about noise and disturbance affecting the nearby chapel of rest for the nearby Ainsworth Funerals business and Madina Masjid mosque.

He told Thursday’s meeting: “These developments are near a mosque on Victoria Street and near a chapel of rest on Victoria Street. I would ask that a condition is put on the outside areas that no speakers or loud music is played because of the sensitivity of the area.”

Borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “It strikes me that these developments will enhance the sort of ambitions and plans that the Darwen Town Deal Board have for the heart of Darwen.”

Tory Cllr Jacquie Slater said: “I have great concerns. I don’t see how we can monitor the noise and we have to take into consideration that it is such a sensitive area.

“Whether we like it or not we have to respect the dead and we have to respect people who want to go for prayers.”

She and Liberal Democrat Darwen East Cllr Paul Browne expressed concern about traffic around the Cin Cin bar beer garden.

Council planning manager Gavin Prescott told the meeting that public protection officers could monitor noise levels.

Both applications were passed with a condition that ‘there shall be no external amplified music within the outdoor seating area at all times.’ Mr Prescott said of both plans: “The development will deliver a quality scheme, which will enhance the external setting of the Darwen Town Centre Conservation Area.