MORE than 1,500 people have signed a last-ditch petition to stop a lap dancing club opening in Accrington.

Hyndburn councillors will meet today to decided whether to give planning permission for the iCandy bar in Blackburn Road.

Officers have recommended the plans get the green light, saying the club would “maintain the character and vitality of the town centre”.

They have already granted an alcohol and Sexual Entertainment Licence to proposers, Candy Leisure Ltd.

Reverend Kevin Logan has compiled the petition, and will be speaking at today’s meeting.

He said: “I fear what this club will do to the area.

“Accrington is a strong, respectable, Lancashire town, and the people are proud of that.

“The council might gain a few pounds by allowing it, but at what cost? As the saying goes, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?”

If given the go-ahead, the club would open on Monday to Friday from 7pm to 1am, and on weekends and bank holidays from 7pm to 3am. The entrance would be from a side door to the building in Dutton Street.

The interior of the premises will not be visible from the outside and patrons will not be permitted to leave with alcohol.

Council planning officers said in a report: “The lap dancing club would be open during the evening only. Additional footfall in the town centre at this time would have a positive impact on vitality and viability in terms of the night time economy.”

The report to the planning committee also states that the proposal would “seek to diversify the range of entertainment facilities” in the town.

Susan Cunliffe, 56, signed the petition. She said: “I think it will attract the wrong kind of people into Accrington.

“We need to bring this area up, not down.”

Catherine Sykes, 22, of Cato’s World, in Blackburn Road, said: “The town hall haven’t let us know about these plans as local traders, so I’m shocked to hear of them.

“We need to know exactly what is going to happen there.

“I can understand why the council don’t object to it being set up, because it will attract people into the town centre, but I can see why people don’t want it too.

Jenny Sykes, 61, also of Cato’s World, said: “I suppose the worry is that it could invite idiots into the town centre. I think a study needs to be done on other areas where a lap dancing place has opened up.”

Accrington resident Paul Murray, 33, said: “I don’t think it will be here in six months time anyway - people will go once to see what it’s like, and that’ll be it.

“I think we need to move with the times. We’re not still in the 1960s when everything like this is considered bad.”

The club would be above Quattro's Bar & Brasserie A spokesman for the bar said: “It’s a completely separate business and whatever happens, happens. We have not signed the petition.”

Candy Leisure Ltd declined to comment.