Marks & Spencer's proposal to leave Blackburn town centre for a new out-of-town retail park has suffered a major blow.

The retailer had planned to move to a base on Frontier Park retail hub off Junction 6 of the M65, owned by Blackburn's billionaire Issa brothers.

However, Hyndburn Council's planning committee has been recommended by officers to refuse the application for the new store when it meets next week.

In November, M&S announced it was planning on vacating its current site in the heart of Blackburn town centre in King William Street, where it has stood since the 1980s.

Lancashire Telegraph: An artist's impression of what the store would look like if approvedAn artist's impression of what the store would look like if approved

At the time, the decision was described as a huge loss and the "death of the town centre".

It revealed it was proposing to move into a purpose-built larger store, which would feature a new food hall and wider range of products, at Frontier Park on the outskirts of the town.

All 120 staff would be offered jobs at the new site, which would be double the size of the existing one if the move goes ahead.

Now the application by the Issa brothers property arm Monte Blackburn Ltd, which owns the out of town retail estate in Frontier Avenue, Rishton, to build the store is due to be debated by councillors on Hyndburn Council's planning committee on Wednesday.

Lancashire Telegraph: The existing Marks & Spencer store in Blackburn town centreThe existing Marks & Spencer store in Blackburn town centre

But a planning officer's report to the meeting recommends refusal on the grounds there are better alternative sites for the development in the area.

It notes an objection from Blackburn with Darwen Council, which suggests alternative sites for the new M&S store in Carl Fogarty Way, or on the location on the former Thwaites Brewery land, originally earmarked for a new Morrisons superstore before the supermarket chain pulled out of the move last month.

There are also objections from a nearby resident and supermarket chain Tesco, which has a store a mile away from the proposed site.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's growth boss, Cllr Quesir Mahmood, said: "We were obviously disappointed when M&S said it was leaving Blackburn town centre.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Issa brothers' development at Frontier Park has not been without controversyThe Issa brothers' development at Frontier Park has not been without controversy

"If planning permission is refused for the Frontier Park site we would be happy to help them find a location in the town.

"We have alternative sites available following Morrisons decision not to proceed with its new store."

The committee report says: "Full planning permission is sought for the erection of a new M&S Food retail store with associated car parking at Frontier Park, Frontier Avenue, Rishton.

"The application site measures 0.8 hectares within the wider development of Frontier Park, which includes a number of large employment units as well as roadside services with drive-thru restaurants, a coffee shop, and a hotel.

Lancashire Telegraph: How the site would be laid out if approvedHow the site would be laid out if approved

"With the exception of the application site, the wider Frontier Park site has been built out.

"To the north is the Hampton by Hilton hotel. To the east is the BP petrol filling station alongside food and drink establishments including Greggs, Starbucks and Subway.

"The building would have a contemporary appearance faced externally with a modern cladding system in keeping with the appearance of the surrounding buildings.

"The site is located on the boundary of Hyndburn and is approximately 2.5 kilometres to the east of Blackburn town centre and to the south of Whitebirk Roundabout, which provides access to Junction 6 of the M65.

"At present, the site is undeveloped land which has planning approval for a circa 1,400 capacity conference centre.

"The proposal comprises the erection of a new food store with a gross internal floor area of 2,011 sqm of which 1,424 sqm would be retail sales area.

"The proposed operator for the unit is M&S, who recently announced the impending closure of their Blackburn town centre store at King William Street.

"The proposed M&S Food store is aimed at supporting the business model which seeks to accelerate the number of new M&S Food Halls, whilst also providing a clothing and home offer via their in-store click and collect facilities.

"The conclusion is that permission in principle be refused for the following reasons: the council considers that there are preferable sites which are available, suitable and viable for the proposed development, and therefore the application fails to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the sequential test as set out in policy."

Monte Blackburn Ltd declined to make immediate comment.

Marks & Spencer has been approached for comment.