RESIDENTS are furious after controversial plans for a 16-bed house for the homeless has been given the go-ahead – despite a petition and several comments of objection.

Plans to turn 24 Barnes Street, a warehouse, into a house of multiple occupancy were approved by Hyndburn Council planning committee on Wednesday.

In total 87 signatures were gained on a petition against the plans, citing crime, parking and a detrimental impact on local businesses and house prices as potential issues caused by the development.

Laura Rawcliffe, who created the petition, said after the meeting: “It’s chaos in that area.

“On an evening there’s boxing classes and dance classes, which is great for children in the area, but you already cannot move in that area for cars.

“It’s an area high in crime, I was on the phone just the other day about paving stones being stolen from Leigh Street.”

Four members of the planning committee voted against the plans, seven agreed with the planning recommendation and voted in favour and one councillor abstained.

Richard Cullen, of Lee Street, spoke at the meeting on behalf of residents against the plans.

He said: “We all feel generally the location is completely inappropriate.

“There are five or six businesses that will immediately be impacted by the development such as a dance club, karate school, gym, a garage, sheltered accommodation and local schools.

“As residents we are a bit petrified, it’s going to cause problems.”

Cllr Joyce Plummer also spoke against the plans, stating it could cause a noise disturbance and be detrimental to a ‘deprived area’.

Cllr Kath Pratt, who sits on the planning committee, said: “I’m concerned about this because the community is already struggling.

“ As a planning committee we are suppose to make the community better.”

Planning agent Steven Hartley speaking on behalf of applicant Steve Pickles, said: “The building is in need of attention.

“Applications such as these are confrontational, controversial and residents can feel anxious.

“The applicant is not a novice when it comes to property management. He has several other flats and apartments which he lets out and manages.

“He will make sure it is run right.”

Initially plans were submitted for it to be changed into a 17 bed property, but the proposals were altered as part of changes to waste management.

A motion was also raised for the planning committee to conduct a site inspection of the proposed site, but it only received two votes, to the anger of protestors.