BREWERY giants Thwaites anticipated move to Mellor Brook looks set to begin – just as long as their famous shire horses are cared for.

The 210-year-old family firm has earmarked land at Sykes Holt for a new craft brewery and visitors’ centre, to replace their historic home in Blackburn’s Penny Street.

Councillors in Ribble Valley have now delegated authority to the borough’s planning boss, John Macholc to finalise arrangements for the relocation.

Residents and neighbouring businesses remain concerned about potential odours from the brewing process and extra traffic being generated.

Planning consultant Paul Tunstall, representing neighbours, called for the project to be deferred to more information could be obtained regarding proposed condensers for the site.

“Just because something is acceptable in Penny Street, Blackburn, does not mean that it will be acceptable for the Ribble Valley,” he said.

Councillors heard the company had agreed to operational hours of 7am to 7pm Mondays to Friday.

But Cllr Rupert Swarbrick said: “If the site is only operational from 7am to 7pm Mondays to Fridays how do you feed the horses over the weekend?”

He told colleagues the borough was supposed to be “encouraging economic growth” and should not be placing restrictive conditions on the brewery.

Cllr Stuart Carefoot said he was happy to delegate permission for the brewery as long as conditions allowed for the animals’ welfare to be considered.

Mr Macholc said the main concerns so far expressed had concerned the brewing process and he was confident other issues could be resolved in discussions with the firm.

John Draper, Thwaites’ estates director, said: “Our 20-barrel brewery would be smaller than Bowland Brewery. The brewing process would only last for an hour an 15 minutes at a time.”

The new site would produce Thwaites Original, mild and craft ales.