COUNCILLORS have scrapped a new logo after critics said it was too similar to a trademark for an online sex toy shop.

The heart-shaped design, drawn up by Pendle councillor James Starkie, was said to be too close to international retailer Lovehoney’s logo.

The company sells more than 400 own brand products, and holds the licence to design, make and sell adult toys based on the hugely popular Fifty Shades of Grey books by E L James.

Now councillors have voted to go back to the drawing board after the elections after initially agreeing a £3,00 budget and spending dozens of hours of council officers’ time on the project.

Coun Ann Kerrigan told a full council meeting: “A similar logo belongs to another organisation and it really does concern me because do we want Pendle to share a logo with a sex shop like Lovehoney?

“It wouldn’t do much for Pendle and I don’t think we should be associating our logo with this kind of thing.”

Coun Tony Greaves said: “There is one particular item on the website which might be useful, given Pendle’s climate, something called a waterproof vibrator.”

Coun Starkie had come up with the designs as part of a ‘Brand Pendle’ exercise, to replace the borough’s Pendle Hill inspired emblem and celebrate the district’s 40th anniversary.

He has previously defended the initiative, saying it was ‘designed to change hearts and minds so that we can all have pride in Pendle.”

But the slogan associated with the redesign - Pendle - The In Place to Live, Work and Play - was dismissed as ‘Mars bar marketing’ by Lib Dem councillor David Whipp.

Coun Ken Hartley, another Lib Dem, also said that the designs, set to appear on signs across Pendle, had him ‘reaching for his blood pressure medication’.

Councillors have now agreed to defer the marketing exercise so the authority’s scrutiny committee can take it up after the next borough elections.

Labour’s Coun Richard Smith said: “I am not convinced about the cost of this or the cost in officer time. I understand the idea but I don’t agree with the designs.”

Council leader Coun Joe Cooney said: “It really was never about rebranding the council but promoting the things that are great about Pendle, all the great places we have to live and work.

“I accept that we have probably got sidetracked on one particular part of this but it was all about the concept and idea of it.”

A spokesman from Love Honey said: "We are very disappointed that Pendle councillors have rejected their new logo because of its likeness to ours.

'Lovehoney is Britain's biggest online sex toy retailer. Our turnover grew by 50 per cent in the last year. We have thousands and thousands of satisfied customers.

"We'd like to spread a little sexual happiness to the good people of Pendle who buy our products in huge numbers. If any of the councillors who objected to the logo would like to contact us, we will happily supply them with a free sex toy of their choice."

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This was an idea that was brought up and designed by one councillor free of charge.

“Coun Starkie thought it was a good idea, and came up with some concepts to present to councillors, but that means no taxpayers’ money has been spent on this.

“It’s coming up to election time, and this sounds like pretty low political mischief making from people who should be spending their time on better things.”

Lovehoney was founded in 2002 by former magazine editor Richard Longhurt, and Neal Slateford.

In 2011, it bought erotic retailer Coco de Mer, which has a flagship store in Covent Garden, London, giving it a high street presence, although Coco de Mer still operates under its own brand.