PLANS for B&M Bargains to expand into retail units abandoned by Maplin and Mothercare have been given the green light.

The cut-price chain wants to merge three units at Blackburn Retail Park in Lower Audley Street.

Part of the expansion will be taken up by a new garden centre.

The equivalent of 18 new full-time jobs would be created.

The two units have stood empty since Maplin went into administration in February 2018 and Mothercare entered into company voluntary arrangement in May 2018 resulting in the store closure.

The scheme includes new fences, groundworks and alterations to the service yard in order to create the garden centre.

Principal planning officer Martin Kenny said: “The proposal seeks to utilise a section of the existing rear service yard to provide a garden centre, enclosed by a weld mesh fence.

“The applicant and their transport consultant have set out in the transport statement a requirements for car parking; this has then been against the entire retail provision available at this retail park.

“Their calculations shows that there is adequate provision within the car park area that supports all the retail, in fact they are currently have an overprovision when measured against the council adopted parking standards.

“There is an existing provision of disabled spaces, cycles and spaces within the car park that is sufficient to support the site.

“A swept path has been submitted, this adequately shows the vehicle are able to turn within the retained section of the service yard.

“In summary, the development will not impact highway safety or prejudice the free flow of traffic.

“The site is highly accessible via a range of transport modes and scope exists to further promote accessibility by alternative modes to the car.”

Work will be carried out at the back of the units to create access to the garden centre.

The existing Maplin entrance will be removed, while the current B&M entrance will be reclad and visually improved.

And a new entrance will be created at the former Mothercare unit.

The remaining service yard will remain as it is and will be fully accessible for HGV entry.

The car park and access will be unaffected.

B&M also has stores in Whitebirk and Blackburn town centre.