A council is taking enforcement action after a distasteful 'Bargain Store' sign was erected on the front of a former bank building without official consent.

Residents took to social media earlier this week to express their indignation over the 'eyesore' sign, which went up above the former NatWest bank building in The Circus, Darwen.

The sign was placed across the front entrance to the building, which has recently opened as The Bargain Store, and the windows were also adorned with huge posters advertising items for sale.

Darreners and town councillors contacted Blackburn with Darwen Council to complain about the sign, with one resident saying: "Not one to moan, but this really does take the biscuit. What an eyesore."

The council has pointed out the former bank building is within a conservation area and as such, any official signage would need planning permission before being erected.

A spokesperson for the council said if application had been lodged, it would not have been supported anyway, and following the complaints, planning officers are in the process of requesting the owner remove the sign with immediate effect.

The spokesperson said: "Update on enforcement action being taken in Darwen.

"Thank you to all those who highlighted the new signage at The Bargain Store in Darwen town centre.

"Many will remember the building as the former NatWest Bank.

"We wanted to share this update to reassure you that action is being taken.

"After being alerted by Darwen councillors, our planning enforcement officers visited the shop this morning to request that the owner removes the signs immediately, and this will be followed up with a formal letter.

"As many of you rightly pointed out, the building is in a conservation area.

"We can confirm an application wasn’t submitted for the signage and that if it had, it would not be supported by the council.

"If the signs are not removed, we have the powers to prosecute the owners/occupiers immediately through the Magistrates' Court.

"Our highways team is also reviewing the new ramp to the front of the shop.

"Following the discussions this morning, we are expecting an advert application for the retention of the sign above the entrance door.

"This will be assessed through the appropriate channels, including consultation with the council’s conservation advisor.

"With regards to the use of the building as a shop, as it was once a bank it falls under the same legal use class, so no ‘change of use planning application’ is required.

"Thank you again to all those who highlighted the signage - please know swift action is being taken."