THE owners of a takeaway, bar and restaurant business in Darwen have bought the former HSBC bank in the town.
Shaz and Keyvan Fani, who own the Godfather takeaway and adjoining Amalfi Lounge restaurant and cocktail bar in Duckworth Street, have bought the historic building.
And although the sale has not fully gone through, it appears the move will officially scupper the town council’s plans to open a heritage centre in the former bank in The Circus.
Once the sale is complete the Fanis said they would investigate a variety of options for the future of the building, but pledged that it would not be turned into a takeaway.
Shaz said: “It is sold subject to contract, so we are nearly there now.
“The purchase is an investment for the future really.
“We have a lot of options on the table and we are discussing things with councillors and retailers, so the jury is still out.”
Mr Fani said it was likely the building would be rented out to a tenant, but they may decide to set up a business, although it would be separate from the Amalfi Lounge and The Godfather.
He said: “It will definitely not become a takeaway and the building will come into use and provide an economic benefit to the town.”
Meanwhile, Coun Brian Taylor, who has been leading the town council’s bid to open a heritage centre, said feedback from last week’s consultation was now being looked at.
He said: “Once all that is looked at we will have another look at it and see where we go from there.
“Obviously losing the building was a blow but we will continue to look for a new venue.”
Coun Taylor also responded to criticisms that arose from the meeting, where he was accused of refusing to answer questions during the consultation at Darwen Academy.
He said: “I said at the start of the meeting that the time to ask questions was when they were sat in groups with the council officers who were there.
“I did not want to answer any questions myself because I don’t want to dictate how this is going to run.
“All we want to do is facilitate getting Darwen Heritage Centre off the ground and then pass it on to a trust.
“It is not up to me what happens next or how it is run going foward.”