THE owners of The Mall, Blackburn, have welcomed the decision not to allow an extension to Whitebirk retail park.

Hyndburn Borough Council planning committee threw out the plans by Peel Holdings for a £16million food and retail area at the site, on the Hyndburn/Blackburn border.

Mark Bourgeois, managing director for shopping centres, Capital & Regional, owners of The Mall, Blackburn, said: “If implemented, the plans would have had a disastrous effect on jobs and investment in neighbouring town centres, including Accrington, Blackburn, and even further afield in Burnley.

“What’s more, the proposals went against the Mary Portas-led government policy to support our town centres.

“The proper retail use for Whitebirk was correctly established in the planning review of 2008, when Peel’s plans to widen the retail use were rejected.

“Since then, Peel appears to have adopted questionable tactics in seeking to achieve their aims, attempting to utilise a tenuous and, in this case, unworkable legal loophole against Hyndburn Council.

“We hope that Peel will now focus their investment into Whitebirk for its intended use, as a bulky goods destination.”