ONE of the oldest surviving spinning mills in the world could be converted into an 18-bed hotel if plans are approved next week.

Plans were submitted by Stephen Chicken from SCPi Bowland Ltd to change the Grade II-listed Kirk Mill in Chipping into a three-story hotel including 18 beds and a bar restaurant in February.

Mr Chicken had hoped for the plan to be voted on by the summer but councillors will now discuss the application at a meeting in Clitheroe on Thursday, November 13.

The Arkwright-type spinning mill first began production in the 1780s, making it one of the oldest surviving cotton mills in the world.

It took the place of an existing corn mill with records for the building dating back to 1544.

The former HJ Berry factory has lain empty since 2010 when the 170-year-old furniture manufacturer closed.

The plans also include the creation of seven holiday cottages, demolition of a group of derelict factory buildings and 60 houses split over two sites, the current cricket pitch and on land and Malt Kiln Brow.

A new cricket ground would also be created alongside a new pavilion, a wedding venue, a 20-bed hotel and spa and a children's centre.

Chipping Parish Council has objected to the plans to redevelop the cricket field because it is a greenfield site.

The Forest of Bowland Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty has welcomed the plan to regenerate and re-use the mill and has said that it would secure a long-term use for the listed building.

However, the AONB believes the applicant has not provided sufficient information to demonstrate the proposed developments to be in the public interest.

The plan has also been supported by English Heritage and United Utilities.

The borough council has received 68 letters of objection which include concerns such as surprise at the 'enormous scale' of the application, that it would undermine the Talbot Hotel's place at the heart of the village and that Chipping would be turned into a town.

A spokesman for the application said in the planning statement: "The mill is in a poor state of repair, despite the efforts of the applicant to maintain it in a secure and watertight condition. It is in need of significant works.

"Very real and significant benefits will result from the proposal, which will secure the long term future of the mill, and improve the Conservation Area as a

consequence of this.

"The removal of several unsightly buildings, to be replaced by development of the highest quality, befitting of the setting, will deliver an asset for the village."

The application will be voted on by councillors at a meeting at 6.30pm on Thursday, November 13, in the council chamber, Church Street, Clitheroe.