A LASER battlefield could be built on the site of a clay pigeon shoot if councillors give it the go-ahead.
Shooting has been allowed on the site of the former Rishton Sewage Works next to Holt Farm, off Hermitage Street, Rishton, for about 35 years.
Currently, visitors are only allowed to shoot between 11am and 2pm on Sundays and for 10 free days throughout the year.
Earlier this year, owner Thomas Threlfall tried to have this extended to an all-week shoot, but it was thrown out by councillors following complaints from residents.
He is now proposing to develop the land into a "military games" area which would be run by the Darwen branch of the Australian company Battlefield Sports.
Players use harmless laser weapons to fire at sensors on other players’ guns and helmets to score points in order to complete a variety of missions.
The idea is to give people the chance to take part in simulated military activities in a safe environment.
But residents in Clayton-le-Moors, living in housing estates that back on to the site, have complained that the noise from the shooting is already unbearable.
Father-of-one Nigel O’Rourke, 44, manager of florist Open all Flowers in Whalley Road, lives in Collingwood.
He said: "The applicant keeps saying that the site is in the countryside but it’s within 180 metres of my house. This man just wants to make noise, noise, noise.
"He doesn’t seem to consider the neighbours. Apparently tests have been carried out for the councillors but what about us? Surely he should be asking the residents what they think about it first.
"This land is an area that people walk through, an area of natural beauty, but all that will be gone once people are running about wearing military regalia."
Former councillor and Planning Committee member Tim O’Kane said that he was aware of dozens of complaints being submitted to Hyndburn Council from residents who are concerned about noise and the lack of consultation.
Elaine Marsden of Battle-field Sports said: "This sport is very popular and has been in Australia since about 1999.
"It is not like paintballing and it is appropriate for youngsters of eight and upwards to play. It is also unlike Laser-quest as it isn’t just played indoors."
She said that, unlike paintballing, the games did not feature any bullets being fired and it was therefore better for the environment.
The plans are set to go before Hyndburn Council’s Planning Committee later this month.
Rishton councillor Harry Grayson said: "Anything that gets youths off the streets is surely a good thing. We read a lot of bad press about youngsters but this is surely an opportunity to give them something to do."