A DECISION due to be made on the controversial £9million development of Clitheroe Market has been delayed further.

Council bosses were due to discuss the plans, which include a hotel, three-story market hall, new retail units and 56-space car park, at a meeting of the policy and finance committee on Tuesday night.

Cllr Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Council, said he was ‘extremely frustrated’ that they could not make a decision but added he could not ‘conceive of a situation where the project will not go ahead’.

Thousands of people signed a petition objecting to the plans which one market trader described as ‘sacrilege’.

Cllr Hind said: “The message is we are pressing on with this. There is no question of us not going ahead with it.

“It is a question of finalising the various aspects of it.”

He said the working group will bring their recommendations to the policy and finance committee and it will then go before full council, although a date has not been set.

He said they are listening to people and will consider the results of a public consultation.

“I have been in post for six weeks and I am saying to the public and businesses across the north that the Ribble Valley is open to business and this is one of the areas where we want to improve our offer to have a better market for our people and visitors,” he said.

Cllr Ansar said: “I don’t think they want to go ahead and they are trying to find legal ways of getting out of it.

“If that is the case it is fantastic.

“It is not just the market traders who don’t want it. It’s the town.

“It will kill the high street in Clitheroe and will stop tourism.

“It will not be any different to any other built up town.

“It will lose its character and quaintness and will become something completely different.

“We know we have to make progress. Nobody is naive enough to think things have to stay the same but what they are proposing is too overbearing.

“Clitheroe is the jewel in the crown and it is sacrilege to do what they are trying to do to it.”