A BATTLE over a vacant cemetery lodge in East Lancashire is set to come to a head this week.

Council officials in Pendle are proposing that the lodge, at Nelson Cemetery in Walton Lane, should be sold off.

But members of the Nelson Area Committee resolved in December to lobby the borough's executive to demolish the property, which until recently was occupied by a council employee under a service tenancy.

Committee members have argued that the building should make way for much-needed burial plots there.

Meanwhile Conservative councillor Neil McGowan has been behind a protest petition, calling for the lodge to be saved, which has attracted more than 1,400 names.

Property officials say the lodge has a market value of £150,000 - which could rise to £225,000 if it was refurbished and extra parking and an access of Walton Lane was arranged.

In a report to the council's policy and resources committee, Hywel Lebbon, of the council's property partner Liberata, has recommended declaring the lodge surplus to requirements and invite bids.

If this was approved then the authority would seek outline planning permission for parking and access.