A town centre hotel owner has said his new venture will reopen, after a council order closed it temporarily over ‘planning and fire safety’ issues.

The Queens Apart'Hotel is next to Blackburn Library on Town Hall Street and has undergone renovations in excess of £80,000.

The hotel has six apartments, of which three have two bedrooms and three have one bedroom, and was listed on Booking.com.

Waqas Mirza, of The Hotel Group Blackburn which is managing the project, said earlier this month he was delighted to be bringing life back into the building which had been closed for more than a decade.

However, Blackburn with Darwen Council confirmed a stop order had been placed on the hotel for 28 days, over planning the fire safety issues.

The council said it would work with the owners over the coming weeks, after it emerged the hotel was operating without the correct planning permission.

Waqas said he was looking to address concerns raised by the council, and he had been told the venue that he could stay open as long as he made the necessary changes.

He said: “After a visit, a fire safety order was issued with 15 requirements, 12 of which are paperwork related, along with a few extra signage and fire action display notices. 

“Three of the requirements are layout related; after discussion with the fire marshals and risk assessor we have resolved these concerns by changing the layout, and will not be running at full capacity until all tasks are completed reducing any fire safety concerns."

Lancashire Telegraph:

The Stop Notice also mentioned ‘planning issues’, namely that the hotel does not have permission to operate.

Waqas said: “As it was the former ‘Queens Hotel’ I did not think it required a change of use. 

“The council have asked for a change of use application to be submitted, along with building regulations application, as the current use on the building is not of a hotel.

“This is currently being worked on and the council will be receiving am application soon. 

“I will be in talks with the council this week as we have addressed the more serious concerns since the visit and hopefully this temporary stop notice will be removed.

"In the meantime, he said he had closed the hotel to bookings while the notice is active."

A spokesperson for Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “We have issued a temporary stop notice on the Queens Hotel in Blackburn town centre.

“The hotel does not have the required planning permission or building regulations approvals in place.

“Our action today comes following concerns raised over fire safety and a subsequent enforcement notice served by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. This details the need for urgent remedial action.

“The stop notice prevents the business from operating as an hotel for the next 28 days. It will then be reviewed.

“We will willingly work with the owners to offer them the support they need. 

“Safety is our number one priority.”

It's not the first time Waqas has flouted planning regulations to open a hotel; his King's Hotel in King Street operated without permission with numerous planning applications being rejected due to crime concerns and a lack of respect for historic buildings.

However in December the retrospective plans were finally approved on appeal.

The building housing the Queen's Apart'Hotel was formerly the North Ba,r and made a name for itself enticing acts such as The Fall and bass legend Peter Hook to perform in a more ‘intimate setting’.

It had been subject to redevelopment plans in the past but had remained empty until Waqas said he wanted to rejuvenate the building.

One a retrospective planning application is submitted, a decision will be made by the council in due course.