Plans to change a retail unit into a betting shop have been refused by the council over gambling concerns.

An application was submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council in November 2021 by Jade Leisure Limited to change the use of a retail shop on Lord Street, Blackburn.

However, the council refused the plans stating that the change of use would result in a ‘displaced retail use and an over concentration of betting shops and other gambling establishments’.

The decision notice said: “The proposed development would undermine the strength and focus of the town centre's shopping offer and the council’s strategic objectives for the Northgate Quarter, by reason of a displaced retail use and an over concentration of betting shops and other gambling establishments at a defined secondary shopping frontage."

The report added that the application was contrary to council planning policies and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Nine neighbours were consulted and objections were received by the council, which raised concerns over the failure to protect or enhance the leisure offer within the Northgate Quarter as well as highlighting the loss of a retail unit.

A planning officer report stated: “Policy 26 explains the council’s approach to main town centre uses, including a requirement for development to strengthen and focus the shopping offer.

“Although the proposed use is not a main town centre use, according to NPPF’s glossary definition of such, the listing is not necessarily exhaustive and it is reasonable to consider betting offices as not untypical town centre uses.

“They are not, however, amongst those included in the range of supporting uses referenced in the policy, including cultural and entertainment facilities explicitly advocated for the Northgate Quarter, in support of a targeted enhanced offer to develop an evening economy.

“Accordingly, loss of a retail unit in this location will serve to dilute the strength and focus of the shopping offer, within a secondary shopping frontage and undermine the strategic aspirations for the Northgate Quarter.”

It went on to add that the development would fail to contribute positively to the area and would damage 'the social and environmental character of the area'.