A GROWING East Lancashire builders' merchants has been given permission to build a new office block which will help to create new jobs.

R And J Builders Hardware Ltd will now demolish its existing two-storey brick building at its headquarters at Merchant House, Croft Head Road, on Blackburn's Whitebirk Industrial Estate.

It will replace it with a new two-storey block with associated landscaping including new trees.

R&J Builders Hardware was established in 1969 and is a family owned business currently being managed by the second generation of the founders of the company.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has approved the proposal with 12 conditions.

Documents submitted with the planning application say: "The company has expanded over the last 10 years and currently employs over 90 employees.

"It sells and distributes nationally a wide range of specialist products to the building and allied trades which are delivered by their own fleet of vans.

"The current office building, constructed in 1974, is considered to no longer fit for its purpose and with an increase in staff numbers and operating demands.

"Relocating would not be feasible.

"The new building will provide an enhanced entrance/ link and reception lobby to the trade counter as well providing upgraded offices and facilities to accommodate the growing business with the option of additional space for potential future employment and expansion.

"The site has good access links that leads to the nearby M65 motorway as well as the route to Blackburn town centre."

A report recommending approval by Blackburn with Darwen Council planning officer Tom Wiggans says: "The development now proposed, seeks to demolish an old office building and replace it with a new office building and welfare facilities for the employees.

"This proposal forms part of planned phases of development. The next phase will be the extension of the warehouse.

"Ward councillors were consulted and 11 neighbours. No objections were received.

"The current office is nearing its end of life and inappropriate for the operating demand of the growing business.

"The replacement building will be an improvement to the visual amenity of the area and enhance the street scene.

"The proposal also allows for potential future warehouse expansion to the north east of the site.

"The proposal would be of flat roof construction, concealed by a canopy. This design feature would provide potential areas for plant decks."