A PROPOSED ban on weddings at a new Indian restaurant being created in a vacant Blackburn pub has been vetoed by councillors.

The borough planning committee has approved the scheme for the once-landmark Woodlands Hotel in Preston New Road despite objections from nearby residents.

The scheme, proposed by Zain Patel of HPA Solicitors, to bring the former inn back into use as an eatery, will now go ahead without restrictions.

After the receipt of four letters of objection from neighbours and a nine-signature protest petition, planning officer Gavin Prescott proposed a condition banning wedding parties being held at the new restaurant.

But Queen’s Park councillor Faryad Hussain and Liberal Democrat spokesman Paul Browne said the condition was unnecessary and could affect the viability of the new venture. The objectors had claimed the plans to transform the downstairs and first floor into a restaurant, adding an extension, would be overdevelopment of the site, causing noise pollution and traffic problems Coun Hussain said: “Weddings do not cause lots of noise and are part of the business of a restaurant.”

Sudell’s Coun Browne said: “Blackburn badly needs a another good Indian restaurant. Darwen has some cracking ones.

“I am a connoisseur of Indian food. I can assure you I shall personally go and inspect the restaurant and taste its cuisine.”

After a vote, the committee decided to approve the scheme without the restriction on wedding functions.

Mr Patel hopes that the new restaurant will sell Indian fusion food and bring a ‘prominent building’ back into use.

Beardwood and Lammack Tory councillor Michael Lee said: “I am pleased that the application was approved and this landmark building will become a high-class restaurant.”

Plans for a multi-function room on the first floor have been dropped and use of the second floor will be restricted to residential and office use.