TAUHEEDUL Trust has effectively abandoned its plans to develop a purpose-built Islamic boys school on the site of the former YMCA in Shear Brow.

It is now in talks with Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Department for Education to find an alternative location for the 700 pupil academy.

The change of heart follows the borough planning committee on Thursday refusing revised proposals for the new school in Clarence Street.

Planning chief Gavin Prescott said the latest government guidelines made clear the Edinburgh House site was too small to accommodate the proposed four-storey bullding.

The borough development manager told the meeting his officials and trust representatives were now exploring alternative sites for the academy, the country’s first Muslim free school.

Yesterday Tauheedul chief executive Hamid Patel said: “We are disappointed at the planning comittee’s decision.

“We believe it is a missed opportunity.

“The Trust is now in discussions with the borough council and Department for Education regarding alternative sites and options for the new boys school.”

The trust has moved the academy temporarily from Bicknell Street, Little Harwood, to the former Blakewater College in Shadsworth from next term.

This followed the planned September opening in Shear Brow proving impossible due to the lengthy row which started in 2011..

Mr Prescott’s 52-page report to the councillors said the plan was a ‘substantial overdevelopment of the site’, lacked outdoor space for pupils, and would lead to the loss of protected trees.

It said it ‘fails to achieve any of minumum standards set’ in the latest government guidelines for all schools.

Planning committee chairman Dave Smith said: “Tauheedul Trust are discussing other sites with us. I do not expect it to proceed any further with the YMCA proposal.”

Leading opponent Ansar Ali, of Clarence Street, said: “We are pleased at the decision.

“Hopefully this means the end of this plan for Edinburgh House.

“It was the wrong proposal in the wrong place.

“I hope to see a more appropriate development there and hope Taudeedul can find a suitable site for its school.”