A ROW has erupted after contentious plans for a large wedding venue were thrown out for a second time.

Applicant Adeel Saleem resubmitted plans to transform the former Winners Discount Megastore in New Hall Hey Road, Rawtenstall into a restaurant, banqueting hall, wedding and events venue and offices earlier this year.

The venue would have catered for up to 650 guests.

But councillors on Rossendale’s development control committee refused the application again due to concerns over the noise, unsociable hours and light pollution.

It also comes after 21 objections from the public were made against the development.

The council's planning officers had recommended the application for approval subject to conditions.

Plans for the site were thrown out over similar fears last year despite an appeal against the decision.

Speaking for the application, a spokesman for landowners Hurstwood, said that they were disappointed and saddened by the decision.

They accused the council of taking a narrow-minded view on the plans and wasting taxpayers' money.

A spokesman said: “We are disappointed and saddened to learn that the council are continuing to take this narrow-minded view denying many residents of Rossendale the facilities they need and deserve.

“This application was recommended for approval for the second time.

“We have covered every angle of planning policy and there are simply no reasonable grounds for refusal.

“A conferencing, assembly and wedding venue in a central location with more than adequate facilities and parking is greatly needed in the area, and should be applauded for its entrepreneurial and forward thinking, providing jobs and revenue.

“This building has been empty for two years and the parking is private and can be sealed off at any time by ourselves as landowner. The existing use of a food store would generate far more journeys should the difficult retail market at present allow for the building to be occupied in this manner again.”

The spokesman said an appeal against the decision would now be made.

A spokesman added: “We have already been awarded costs from the last appeal. We will now appeal again and seek further costs. All that the planning committee has done is cost the taxpayers further money and set an alarming and disturbing precedent in its thinking, clear for all to see.”

But Cllr Steve Hughes, who represents the Longholme ward, disputed the claims and said he was pleased the plans had been refused.

Cllr Hughes said: “I’m pleased at the decision, and although I’m not against a wedding venue in Rossendale, this isn’t the right place for it.

“I would refute claims that this is a narrow-minded decision and costing taxpayers money because as a council, our job is to ensure the right development happens in our area.

“As a committee, we are satisfied this development would cause undue chaos around the area.

“The committee have made this decision based on the facts and from listening to residents.”