A REVIEW of parking restrictions is to take place after two adjoining Blackburn businesses were granted permission to open for longer in the evenings despite residents' concerns.

They will now be allowed to stay open until 10pm daily rather than close at 7pm on weekdays and 5pm on Saturdays.

Blackburn with Darwen Council planning committee approved the extended hours from the Frurt Dessert Parlour on Shear Brow Road and the next door Basement Venue and Café on East Park Road.

The new rules also recognised both businesses had changed their uses since originally being granted planning permission - Frurt, which sells frozen yoghurts, from a hairdressers and The Basement from an internet cafe.

But the committee confirmed bans on the latter cooking or reheating of food on the premises within the basement area and on any use of the back yard by customers.

The two businesses had originally asked to be allowed to stay open until 11pm but altered their application to 10pm on the advice of planning officers.

Local residents representative Tom Farron said parking in the area was already ‘horrendous’ and that the extension of the hours would lead to more noise, disturbance and litter.

He told councillors: “Blackburn is getting a name as the takeaway capital of the North.”

Phil Heaton, agent for the two applicants, disputed that the extension of opening hours would make the parking, litter or noise problems worse and said the issues were not matters for the planning committee.

Councillors were told there had been 28 objections and a petition against the new opening time.

Shear Brow and Corporation Park ward’s Cllr Suleman Khonat said: “If we refuse this application, would we have planning grounds for refusal? I think we could struggle with this.”

He said he had sympathy with the residents particularly about parking.

The two businesses are located near the corner of the Croft with no legal parking outside their premises.

Council highways officer Saf Alam promised a review of parking restrictions including providing restricted waiting bays outside the two premises.

After the committee voted to approve the extended hours with the Tory members voting against, Mr Farron accused the councillors of being ‘out of touch’ with residents.

Its Labour chairman Cllr Dave Smith said: “There was no material planning reason for refusing the change despite councillors having sympathy with the residents' concerns. If we had done so, we would have been at serious risk of losing an appeal with costs against the council.”

A planning officer’s report said: “The relaxation of hours is unlikely to lead to significant additional parking generation or negative highway safety. The presence of illegally or inconsiderately parked vehicles would appear to be matters for parking enforcement rather than for control via the planning process.”