The owners of a popular Asian banqueting hall have warned they could move out of the borough after a planning application was refused.
Owners of Al Hamza, on Richmond Road in Accrington, applied for retrospective permission to expand the use of the function hall to cover both floors of the building.
Sixteen letters of support were sent to the council, however 11 letters of objection were also submitted citing concerns over possible highways safety, parking issues, noise and anti-social behaviour.
Lancashire County Council highways also objected, claiming there was ‘compelling evidence’ that the impact would be ‘severe’ on the highways and local community.
Planning officers recommended the scheme for approval, however councillors voted eight to five against the proposals due to highways issues. Sarah Ali, director of Al Hamza, said they are now looking to appeal the decision.
The original plans for the business were to hold functions on the ground floor and a separate restaurant business on the first floor, neither of which could be open at the same time. However, Ms Ali said due to the popularity of the site as a wedding venue it was considered unviable to regularly close the restaurant and it never formally opened to the public.
She told the Observer: “We deal with mainly Muslim weddings and about 80 per cent of the time they ask us to segregate it with men and women on different floors or to have the reception area on one floor and dinner on the ground floor.
“Accrington isn’t a very big place and it’s hard enough to get people through the doors as it is without all these restrictions. We do want to appeal it. The planning officers were on our side. If I’m pushed to take my business out of Accrington then the community will lose out.”
Ms Ali said they have purchased land off nearby Chester Street which can hold up to 90 vehicles since the planning committee’s decision earlier this month.
Al Hamza say they will also run shuttle buses from the car park to the banqueting hall which would prevent parking problems around the venue.
They also employ four stewards to monitor the parking and a further 30 staff to cater for the events.