A COUNCIL has performed a U-turn over proposed parking restrictions near a church.

Its vicar and worshippers joined local businesses in objecting plans to make the streets around Bank Street in Darwen a parking permit zone.

They feared the move could make it difficult for the congregation of St. Peter’s Church to attend services and for it to fulfil its parish role.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has now dropped the scheme to restrict on-street parking in the area to resident and business permit holders between 8am and 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays.

St Peter's vicar, the Rev Fleur Green, local ward Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Browne and borough Tory group leader Cllr John Slater have welcomed the decision to scrap the scheme which followed a consultation.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's highways boss, said: "Following concerns raised about the proposed resident parking scheme within the Bank Street area of Darwen, the highways, transport and network team undertook public consultation.

“The residents living within this area do have a genuine issue with parking in front of their homes, due to the presence of those who often travel into the area for other purposes. This consultation was a genuine attempt to find a way to help those residents.

“Unfortunately there were not enough responses in favour for the plans to go ahead. However we will continue to work with the ward councillors and residents to see if we can find a suitable way to resolve this situation for all parties.”

Rev Green said: "I am very pleased about this.

"I think it is a good decision from the church's point of view.

"It is good that the council has consulted and listened. We will work with residents going forward on the parking issue."

Darwen East ward's Cllr Paul Browne said: "I am over the moon about this. It is one of the best decisions Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has made in recent times.

"Not enough people replied to the survey to go ahead which means they did not want it.

"I am pleased for the church congregations, the funeral directors and the garages in the area."

Cllr Slater said: "I think this is the right decision and what is best for the area including the church, local businesses and the mosque."