The conversion of a town centre house in multiple occupation into a 'boutique hotel' has been given backdated planning approval.

Waqas Mirza has been given permission to operate the building formerly used as bedsits in Preston New Road, Blackburn, as guest accommodation with five bedrooms.

An existing ground floor estate agent's shop will be retained.

Mr Mirza from the The Hotel Group, Blackburn, recently submitted another backdated planning application for the Queen's Apart'Hotel next to Blackburn Library in Town Hall Street.

Blackburn with Darwen Council ordered it to temporarily close in January shortly after it opened without permission following renovations costing in excess of £80,000.

Mr Mirza hopes to reopen that venture, which hosts six apartments, after its planning status has been regularised.

His group is also behind the King’s Hotel in King Street, Blackburn, which operated without permission until retrospective plans were finally approved on appeal in December

A report by Blackburn with Darwen Council planning officer Martin Kenny recommended retrospective approval for the conversion of the HMO in Preston New Road into a hotel with two conditions.

It said: "The proposal relates to an existing HMO positioned within Blackburn Town Centre boundary and the Northgate Conservation Area.

"The site address is Preston New Road, though there is no direct access from Preston New Road due to the majority of the ground floor being occupied by an estate agent.

"Access to the site is in fact taken from the rear via Simmons Street.

"Retrospective planning permission is sought for change of use from HMO to a five-bedroom hotel. There are no external alterations to the building.

"The main issue to consider is whether the proposed hotel use is in a suitable location having regard to local and national policies for town centre development.

"Local policy advises that the council will support and encourage a mix of complementary uses within the town centre.

"The National Planning Policy Framework also encourages tourism development in town centres, including hotels.

"The proposal is for a hotel and, in straightforward terms, the development would therefore accord with local and national policy ambitions to support the role of the town centre.

"Accordingly, the principle of the proposed use is acceptable.

"There are no concerns about the premises operating beyond the remit of a hotel.

"The application property is near to bus and rail stations and in walking distance to a range of services.

"The existing authorised use of the building is as a HMO.

"It is not considered that the impact of a small five-bedroom hotel would be materially different in terms of noise or other amenity impacts."