A LONG-running battle over a proposed bed and breakfast venture in East Lancashire has been won by the bosses of a popular restaurant.

Samantha Robinson and her family wanted to extend what’s on offer at The Fisherman’s Retreat at Shuttleworth, near Edenfield.

But planning chiefs opposed the construction of a manager’s house alongside a three-bedroomed guest house and 10-bay stables for horses.

But members of Rossendale Council’s development control committee narrowly approved the bid, to improve tourism facilities in the valley, despite continuing opposition.

Coun Tim Nuttall and Coun Pete Roberts were unhappy at claims that the stables were close to the Mary Towneley Loop, favoured by many East Lancashire horse riders.

One of the suggested routes to the loop appeared to be along a public footpath, which could not be used as a bridleway, added Coun Nuttall.

But Coun Anne Cheetham, who represents Edenfield, said the Robinsons had converted what was once an eyesore site into ‘one of Lancashire’s hidden gems’.

She told planners that, to her knowledge, the disputed path was formerly used by horses and carts.

“I think we ought to be encouraging this and the familly will work together to ensure this becomes well-known across the area,” added Coun Cheetham.

Planning agent Graeme Luxton said that the proposed family home element would be a timber-frame construction which could be removed within a month if the business did not prove to be a success.

Coun Jackie Oakes added: “I think that this is a special case, to encourage tourism, and efforts have been made to make this more acceptable.”

Last November similar proposals, including a more permanent family home, were rejected by the same committee as they would be unacceptable in the green belt.

Neighbours of the proposed expansion had contacted the borough council both in support and opposition to the scheme.