A PROPOSED health centre in the burnt-out shell of a historic building will 'look like a private hospital' councillors have been told.

The remark was made as planning approval was given for the long-delayed conversion of Blackburn’s Grade II-listed Griffin Lodge in Cavendish Place into a state-of-the-art medical hub.

It will have 21 consulting rooms including dedicated remote consulting space, four treatment rooms, a health education room and a conference room with a number of supporting offices.

As Blackburn with Darwen Council's planning committee approved the multi-million pound scheme on Thursday, Roe Lee ward's Cllr Sylvia Liddle said: "When this is done it will look like a private hospital.

"It will be a tremendous thing for the borough and hopefully attract more GPs."

The medical centre is scheduled to open to patients in 2024 as a replacement for the town's Witton, Limefield and Redlam medical centres currently in former houses unsuitable for modern clinical care.

Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood praised the plan to turn the derelict building into a '21st Century medical centre which will attract more GPs to the town'.

Ewood's Cllr Jim Casey said: "I know the area well. It used to be my playground as a child.

"It's a fantastic facility."

Councillors were assured by officials that conditions applied to the permission granted to developer Assura Medical Properties Ltd would protect mature trees in the grounds and ensure it could not be used as 'a rat run' to Cavendish Place by motorists.

The new centre in Griffin Park will provide extended services including minor operations, new clinics and support including social prescribing, physiotherapy, mental health services for young people, and rehabilitation.

The plan proposes car parking for 103 vehicles, a new vehicular access point from Spring Lane and pedestrian access points from various surrounding streets.