PROPOSALS for an outdoor seating area aimed at bringing ‘a cafe culture’ to a new town square have been rejected due to ‘not being in keeping with the area’.

Plans for the Accrington Pals Outdoor Café outside the Market Hall in Accrington were recommended for approval in a planning report.

However the proposals were rejected by the Hyndburn Council planning committee, by 10 votes to two.

Cllr Paddy Short, who sat on the planning committee, said a ‘sea of hands’ went up at the meeting in rejection to the plans.

The Peel ward representative said: “I voted against the plans because I don’t think it is in fitting with the conservation area.

“Maybe it is something they look at and come back with a different plan.

“It just doesn’t fit in with what we’re looking at for the area, it’s not in keeping with it.”

Cllr Judith Addison, who also sits on the planning committee said: “The location and the appearance are not in keeping with the conservation area and listing building status of the town centre buildings.

“When planning permissions was granted for the town square, there was no mention of any pavement cafe culture.

“The idea was to show off the buildings in all their glory.”

A letter and petition containing 22 signatures against the plans was also submitted prior to the meeting.

Comments against the plans included criticisms it would be a “monstrous carbuncle comprising a hotchpotch of oversized umbrellas, IKEA-style furniture and cheap AstroTurf.”

The cafe trades as a takeaway but the owners wanted to provide outdoor seating with parasols on artificial grass surrounded by barriers.

Cllr Eamonn Higgins, who submitted the plans to the council and runs the cafe, had said before the meeting he hoped to provide ‘a cafe culture to the new town square’ and that the plans would ‘benefit the public’.

Cllr Dave Parkins, who voted in favour of the plans on the planning committee, said: “I was a bit disappointed at the decision.

“At the end of the day plans were trying to bring people into the town centre."

“I thought it was quite a nice set up for the area, he had an area like it set up before.”

First stages of work on the £2million town square is nearing competition, with the project expected to be completed later this year.

If approved, the seating area would have been removed when the outdoor cafe is not being used and all the paraphernalia including the tables, chairs, parasols, means of enclosure and artificial grass would be removed and stored in the nearby pavilion.