A NEW clampdown on bedsit houses in Blackburn with Darwen has been approved in a bid to stop people with 'chaotic lifestyles' flooding the borough.

A change in planning rules is aimed at making it harder to create houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) in the two towns.

Numbers have rocketed locally in the past decade from 129 properties, including hostels, to 390.

Bed spaces in 2015 were estimated at 506 and now there are around 1,170.

And tenants are being blamed for ongoing anti-social behaviour, prostitution and street drinking and drug usage which blight Blackburn town centre in particular.

Several wards - including Shear Brow, Corporation Park, Wensley Fold, Mill Hill, Ewood, Sudell and Sunnyhurst - were made subject of a special Article 4 direction in 2013, meaning any HMO application required a full planning permission.

Now, Blackburn with Darwen full council has unanimously approved the change to take away permitted development rights for would-be landlords in every urban area in the borough.

Speaking in Thursday night's debate, the authority's growth boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood said: "While the current Article 4 Direction has been largely successful there has been a continue growth in HMO beds in the borough and we feel there is an over-provision of such accommodation.

"The consequences of this proliferation of HMOs is multiple and varied including impacting on immunity, the well being of our residents, limiting opportunities for investment and growth and regeneration and more importantly the increased demand on our front-line services that we are already limited with.

"The new directive is to cover the whole urban area of the borough."

Health and wellbeing boss, Cllr Damian Talbot said: "The number of HMOs have tripled in the last 10 years which is very concerning. Spreading this directive to the whole borough is of benefit in terms of managing HMOs and hopefully reducing the existence of them.

"I think we all know that the likely residents in HMOs are actually from out of the borough and not Blackburn with Darwen residents and they have very chaotic lifestyles which have an impact on our borough and our services.

"It's very sad for those people but we've not got the extra resources to deal with those extra problems so this is a big issue we've got to get on top of."

Conservative group leader Cllr John Slater: "We welcome this report. We are glad to see this has now moved forward to all the borough and protects all the residents in the borough and not just a selected few. We are happy to support this."