Controversial plans to transform an historic pub into a hot food takeaway have been given the go ahead - despite more than 200 objections from residents.
Applicant Haji’s Cuisine submitted plans to Hyndburn council to change the use of the former Cross Guns pub, on Church Street in Church, along with external alterations to the building in the conservation area.
A 190-signature petition and 15 letters of objection were submitted citing concerns over health, litter, parking, traffic and anti-social behaviour concerns amid claims there are ‘already an abundance of hot food takeaways in the area’.
Councillors voted eight to three in favour of the scheme at a planning meeting this week.
Campaigners say they will now look to challenge the decision. Planning conditions attached to the scheme mean the building, which closed in 2014, will only be able to open as a takeaway from 5pm to 11pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 11pm on weekends and Bank Holidays because of its proximity to local schools.
The front facade of the building must also remain the same.
Noel Murtagh, from Church Kirk Residents Association, told the meeting that the application contravenes planning policies and that it will have a ‘significant adverse impact on the privacy and safety of immediate neighbours’.
Mr Murtagh said under council rules no hot food takeaway should have a floor space larger than 100sqm, however under their calculations it measures nearly 120sqm.
He said: “If you approve then you will be voting to put private profit over the health and wellbeing of the people of Church.”
The application had been recommended for approval by officers.
Simon Prideaux, chief planning officer, said: “Empty buildings are a blight on our townscape and if they not put to beneficial use then their condition will steadily deteriorate until they become dangerous and eventually collapse. In the case of this application officers have given weight to the reuse of the building and it’s sought to use planning conditions to reduce the harm to the building.
“Officers believe the harm arising is outweighed by the public benefits of bringing the site back into use.”
Coun Loraine Cox voted against the application, saying the pub is a ‘local historic building’ in one of the ‘top obesity areas’ in Hyndburn.
Coun Judith Addison said: “Gut feeling throughout the borough in every township says there are far too many takeaways and we don’t have policies as yet to prevent more opening. A hot food takeaway is not the most desirable use.”
Coun Miles Parkinson said the planning committee cannot go off ‘gut feeling’ because otherwise ‘nothing will ever get passed’.
He added: “I’m in favour of seeing something done now instead of seeing it rot.”