PLANS to press ahead with a new restaurant in a major entertainment complex have been backed after assurances were received.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s ruling executive board authorised the closure of Blakey’s Bar in King George’s Hall to make way for eastZeast despite objections from one of the four cousins who founded the high-profile chain in Manchester in 2005.

Members heard from leisure boss Cllr Damian Talbot that an agreement in principle to lease the premises could now be reached after issues surrounding the branding rights of the restaurant had been clarified.

Two days of talks with eastZeast Blackburn Ltd’s directors were held behind the scenes last week ahead of the meeting.

This came after complaints that the issue of branding rights had yet to be fully clarified from Kabir Rayman, director of eastZeast Group (UK) Ltd, incorporated in 2015 after the original partnership split.

Mr Rayman had asked the council to delay approval until legal details were ironed out. His company has well-known restaurants in Manchester, Bury, Birmingham and Preston.

Mr Ashfaq Hussain, director of eastZeast Blackburn founded earlier this year and who runs a high-profile outlet under the brand name in Kings Dock, Liverpool, said the restaurant was still on track to open in late spring.

The closure of Blakey’s 200-seater eatery has now been approved along with authorisation for council officers to negotiate the terms of a 15-year lease with Mr Hussain’s company but a power for them to sign the deal was dropped.

Family row over brand ‘eastZeast’ and plans to open Blackburn restaurant

That will need approval at a future executive board meeting after further legal details have been provided by eastZeast Blackburn.

Cllr Talbot said: “We have got to look at the operation as a whole here and that includes Blakey’s. It has struggled to cover its costs. We tried investment and while it improved for a period, it tends to drop off.

“The budget does not allow for a subsidy. This opportunity is a great one for the site and something that the town is perhaps lacking at the moment.”