BUSINESSES in Blackburn and Darwen have been urged to object to Preston's £700million regeneration plans.

Council bosses fear the Tithebarn shopping complex, which will have 1.5million sq ft of floor space and include a flagship John Lewis store, will overshadow their own regeneration plans and take shoppers out of the area, damaging Blackburn town centre.

Alongside Blackburn Chamber of Trade, they have written to local businesses outlining their concerns and enclosing a model objection letter to be submitted to Preston City Council, which will rule on the planning application.

Signed by executive member for regeneration Alan Cottam, it says: "We do not want to undermine regeneration of Preston City Centre but we have serious concerns about the sheer amount of retail floor space proposed by the developers Grosvenor and the impact it will have on neighbouring towns."

Chamber president David Cottam said: "Something on this scale will drag people away from the already small pot we have here."