AROUND 150 people have objected to plans for an animal hide company to expand its business.

Almost 100 letters and a 50-strong petition have been received by Hyndburn Borough Council relating to Harwood Hides’ proposal to expand to a site in Church Street, Church.

But the owner of the firm, currently based in Park Road, Great Harwood, said a lot of the issues raised were unfounded.

Residents are up in arms about the application to change the use of the ex-Woodscape building from warehousing to general industry.

Neighbours have complained about possible increased traffic, smell, attracting vermin to the site and use of chemicals.

But Simon Scott, owner of the company, said the complainants had not read the application properly.

He said: “We don’t have any machinery and we don’t use any chemicals on the site.

“We don’t process the hides and skins, we just salt them and then ship them out.”

The hides and skins (above) are segregated by weight and size and are salted before being exported for shoe and leather goods production.

The process acts to remove the moisture from the hides and preserve them. The hides are retained on site in the salted state for at least two weeks.

Mr Scott said no objections had been received by Environmental Health, conservation officers, the River and Canal Trust or the Council’s highway’s department.

He said: “We are hoping to create an additional 20 to 30 jobs because we will be keeping the site in Great Harwood.

“The odour assessment survey carried out by the council said we passed stringent tests with flying colours and highways have said our plans to widen the access gates will actually improve traffic flow.”

When asked about attracting vermin to the site, he said: “We do have rats at the Great Harwood site but no more than at any factory.”

Cecilia Collard, of Church Street, Accrington, said: “It’s going to have a huge effect.

“Not only are we going to have the smell of the treatment, we are going to have the smell of the hides.

“I don’t want the smell or the traffic. It’s a proposterous idea.”

Council officers will discuss the application at Hyndburn Council’s planning committee on September 12.