Extensive plans to relocate Morrisons town center supermarket to Blackburn on the site of the former Thwaites brewery have cleared their first hurdle.

A request for a review of whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was required before submitting a planning application for the project was decided by officials. Plans to demolish the existing 1980s Morrisons store and move it to the site of the former Star Brewery on Penny Street, vacated when Thwaites moved to Mellor Brook in 2018, was first revealed in a master plan from Blackburn town center of £250million last December.

Blackburn along with Darwen Borough Council and Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group, bought the site from Thwaites in 2021. Now borough planning officials have decided an EIA is not necessary for pave the way for a full planning application for the program later this year. .

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The screening application, on behalf of Maple Grove and Morrisons, related to a new store, the demolition of the current one and the nearby parking lot. As part of Blackburn’s master plan, the Morrisons car park would be upgraded for public use with replacement for customers.

The decision letter from the Council’s Director of Growth and Development, Martin Kelly, states: “In the opinion of Blackburn together with Darwen Borough Council, the proposal is unlikely to have significant effects on the environment, due to the scale, location and nature of the development. On this basis I can confirm that it is Blackburn’s view with Darwen Borough Council that the proposed development would not be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment.

The screening request letter revealed, “The first phase will be the construction of a convenience store with a proposed footprint of approximately 30,000 square feet, on the northern parcel of the development site. The rear elevation of the store will face Eanam, with the front elevation and parking area facing outward in the northwesterly direction. Vehicle access will be from Barbara Castle Way and Penny Street, with additional access points for pedestrians and cyclists. Trucks and service vehicles will access the site from Eanam.

“The development will also include the creation of a public realm, walking and cycling paths and landscaping.

A spokeswoman for Morrison declined to comment on the latest developments.

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