PLANS have been submitted to Blackburn Council to open a controversial new shisha cafe on an industrial estate.

If the plans are approved, the cafe will have permission to open at Bullhorn, in Whalley Range Business Park, Boyle Street.

The applicant, Usman Ali Perwez, has asked the council to approve a change of use for the premises from a business to a 'Shisha Lounge', with facilities to sell refreshments.

The application also seeks permission for the erection of a smoking shelter on the car park of the industrial estate.

The council is currently seeking more powers to crack down on unscrupulous shisha cafes, and council leaders have written to Anna Soubry, the government’s public health minister, asking for a licensing system to be introduced.

This was after Bastwell councillor Shaukhat Hussain put a motion to the council arguing that existing powers to regulate shisha lounges were not strong enough.

The council is seeking the powers after shisha cafes had been found to be operating underground in the town, and underage children have been found to be smoking shisha.

But Coun Hussain said that if the application meets the council's planning guidelines officially there was no reason why it would not be allowed.

He said: “The plan has to follow a specified criteria, and if it meets the criteria there’s not much we can do to stop it. On a personal level, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Evidence shows that shisha has an impact on health.

“If people want to smoke that’s fair enough, but it’s certainly not something I would support or encourage.

“If they have to open and there’s evidence of wrong-doing, we will come down hard on them, I don’t want that going on in my ward.”

Bullhorn could not be reach for comment yesterday.