£10m Asian wedding shopping centre plan for Blackburn

Artist's impression of the shopping centre Image copyright Emaar Ltd
Image caption A ground floor food court that would open late into the evening is part of the proposal

Plans to turn the site of a former coach works into a £10m shopping centre for Asian weddings have been revealed.

The old East Lancashire Coach Works site in Blackburn has been empty for more than 15 years.

Emaar Ltd bosses said they will create an "elegant and cultural" retail hub that will draw visitors from beyond the town for wedding shopping.

Blackburn with Darwen Councillor Phil Riley said the site "won't compete with the town centre" but "complement it."

Image copyright Emaar Ltd
Image caption The development is expected to cost around £10m

A planning application submitted to the council proposes to transform the 5,000 sq m (1.24 acre) site on Whalley New Road into 22 individual retail units, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The centre would have a ground floor food court that would open late into the evening and a restaurant on the upper floor.

It is expected to cost around £10m and include 137 parking spaces.

An Emaar Ltd spokesman said the regeneration will underpin "a thriving Asian community shopping destination which is already 'on the map', drawing people from both the local area and the wider Asian community".

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The site initially had permission for housing but the owner "feels he can do better than that", Cllr Riley said

Bosses said it would help create jobs, including shop attendants and 10 posts to manage security and parking.

The company is also seeking outline approval for two further phases, which would include a banqueting hall and restaurant building.

Cllr Riley, said the authority has "been very keen to see something happen" on the privately owned land.

"We have been working with the owner to bring forward a scheme that would add value to the town but won't compete with the town centre - we want to complement it.

"The landowner is a Blackburnian who has got the town's best interests at heart," he said.

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