COUNCILLORS have put off a vote on approving a new convenience shop in part of Blackburn carpet store.

They decided to make a second visit to the site in Cherry Tree because of concerns about parking and the effect on a nearby newsagents.

Blackburn with Darwen council planning committee deferred a decision on the proposal despite a warning it could spark a legal challenge.

Holts of Cherry Tree Carpet and Flooring Centre in Preston Old Road want to split the existing ground floor premises in two to allow Sainsbury’s to open a convenience store.

They also want to turn the upstairs offices into a gym and pilates room.

The firm told the council approval would generate a £250,000 investment creating 24 jobs.

Newsagent Stephen Worsley told the councillors the proposed store would have a damaging effect on his business 300 metres away and contravene borough guidelines on establishing new shops near existing ones.

The committee also received four written objections on grounds of parking problems, noise, disturbance and alcohol sales.

Tory planning spokesman Alan Cottam supported his concerns and said similar supermarket chain satellites had already closed existing small shops elsewhere in the borough.

He also doubted the applicant could find the promised 24 parking spaces for customers to avoid traffic chaos in Cherry Tree.

His concerns were backed by committee chairman Jim Smith and Suddell Liberal Democrat Paul Browne.

Coun Cottam originally proposed rejection but then asked the committee to defer a decision for a second site visit to examine whether the applicant’s proposal for 24 extra parking spaces for staff and customers was realistic.

The committee voted to put off the decision despite borough development manager Gavin Prescott warning it could open them to an appeal.

Coun Smith and coun Browne confirmed the applicant had said the proposed convenience store would be operated by national supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.

Louise Gill, of Holts’ agents Sunderland Peacock and Associates, had no comment to make on the decision.

No-one from Sainsbury’s was available for comment.