A REVIEW of parking restrictions is due to take place after two neighboring Blackburn businesses were allowed to open longer at night despite residents’ concerns.
They will now be allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. everyday rather than closing at 7 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Blackburn and the Darwen City Council Planning Committee have approved extended hours for the Frurt Dessert Lounge on Shear Brow Road and the Basement and Cafe next door on East Park Road.
The new rules also recognized that the two companies had changed their use since obtaining a building permit – Frurt, which sells frozen yogurt, at a hairdresser and The Basement at an internet cafe.
But the committee upheld the latter’s ban on cooking or reheating food in the basement premises and any use of the backyard by patrons.
The two companies had initially requested to be allowed to remain open until 11 p.m., but changed their request at 10 p.m. on the advice of town planners.
Local residents’ representative Tom Farron said parking in the area was already “awful” and extended hours would lead to more noise, disruption and waste.
He told advisers: “Blackburn is making a name for itself as the take out capital of the North.”
Phil Heaton, the agent for the two claimants, disputed that extending hours of operation would make parking, garbage or noise issues worse and said the issues were not the responsibility of the planning committee.
Councilors were told there had been 28 objections and a petition against the new opening time.
Suleman Khonat, director of Shear Brow and Park Ward Corporation, said: “If we deny this request, would we have grounds for denial? I think we could struggle with that.
He said he sympathized with the residents especially about the parking lot.
Both businesses are located near the corner of the Croft with no legal parking outside their premises.
Council roads officer Saf Alam has promised a review of parking restrictions, including the provision of restricted waiting areas outside the two premises.
After the committee voted to approve extended hours with Tory members voting against, Mr Farron accused councilors of being “disconnected” from residents.
Its Labor chairman, Cllr Dave Smith, said: “There was no material planning reason to deny the change despite the councilors sympathizing with the residents’ concerns. If we had done so, we would have seriously risked losing an appeal with costs against the board. ”
A planner’s report said: “The easing of hours is unlikely to lead to additional generation of parking or negative road safety. The presence of illegally or recklessly parked vehicles appears to be a matter of parking control rather than control through the planning process. ”