STAFF at an Accrington food store face the axe after council planning bosses refused the owner's plea to be allowed to stay open.
Despite a petition signed by nearly 240 shoppers, and outspoken support from several councillors, Hyndburn's Planning Committee told Nazir Hussain that his cash-and-carry would not be allowed to operate as a retail shop.
Mr Hussain's son, Majed, 24, who manages the store, said the news was bleak for his staff.
"This will mean seven people are out of work," he said. "My dad spent nearly everything he had on setting up the business and our retail customers meant we could get beyond breaking even and begin to make a profit.
"We have customers coming from out of town to buy our goods. And they are bringing more trade to Accrington, which has been going downhill. As far as we can see we are doing more good than harm."
Mr Hussain was granted planning permission in February to open his NH Food Store in the former Globe Works on Brown Street. But he broke planning rules by selling direct to the public and was forced to apply for retrospective planning permission to operate as a supermarket.
His cause was taken up by Spring Hill councillor Pam Barton, and by both deputy council leaders, Tony Dobson and Brian Roberts.
Councillor Roberts pleaded with the committee to visit the store to allay their fears over parking problems. He said: "The premises have been refurbished and are very attractive. It's not your average shop. It sells all sorts of specialist produce. Entrepreneurial efforts should really be encouraged in Accrington."
But the committee remained dispassionate.
Councillor Doug Hayes said the applicant was told during his original application that he must not operate as a shop, and that granting permission would contravene a raft of planning policies.
Councillor Edith Dunston said: "Mr Hussain has improved the area and I have sympathy for him. But he has shown total disregard for the planning procedure. He is a businessman and ought to have known that he had to apply properly in the first place."