A Blackburn firm has been granted backdated planning permission to keep a waste management station on the edge of the town centre despite complaints from neighbours about rats and 'extremely unpleasant' smells.

One7 GRP Ltd has also been given approval to upgrade Unit 14 in Manner Sutton Street into a modern recycling centre creating 10 jobs.

Its application for Canal Works has been approved by Blackburn with Darwen Council with five conditions.

A report by senior planner Christian Barton says: "The site is contained within a mill building, which has been subdivided into a number of separate units.

"This application seeks retrospective consent to use the unit as a waste management facility.

"The use has been in operation since 2022.

"This application seeks to regularise that activity.

"Vehicular access is gained to the east, off Birley Street through the associated yard.

"The submitted proposed floor plan shows various internal areas for the sorting and storage of wastes.

"Vehicle parking and manoeuvring areas are provided within the associated yard area.

"A number of minor external changes have been implemented to the building’s north elevation in the form of infilling openings.

"The nearest 54 neighbours were notified by letter and a site notice was posted.

"Public comments have been received objecting on the following grounds: the development has already taken place; and there has been an increase in rats to the area and at times the smell/pollution is extremely unpleasant.

"The proposed waste management would provide employment opportunities (the planning application confirms up to 10 jobs).

"The proposed development will have a combined maximum annual operational throughput of 15,060 tonnes of waste per year.

"Reuse of the building would also avoid potential dereliction moving forward, which is often the case for mill buildings.

"It shall only operate between the hours of 8:00 to 17:30 Monday to Friday and 8:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays.

"The development shall not operate on Sundays or Bank Holidays whatsoever."

The unit's operations will comprise the acceptance, storage and transfer of mixed, dry, non-hazardous household, industrial and commercial and construction, demolition and excavation wastes. No hazardous, liquid or clinical wastes will be accepted.

The site operator has acquired an Environmental Permit regulated by the Environment Agency.