A plan to create a ‘magical place’ to holiday in a tranquil East Lancashire valley has been rejected on the grounds it would ‘desecrate’ an area of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Pendle Council’s policy and resources committee refused planning permission for the five vacation cabins in Higham for fear or noise and nuisance and because the entrance from a narrow road would be dangerous.

Several local residents submitted objections to the plan.

The holiday homes plan has been referred to the councillors because the council’s Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee feared its decision to refuse could lead to a significant risk of costs being awarded against the borough in the event of an appeal.

Their concerns were echoed by Pendle planning officer Alex Cameron at the meeting who said the nuisance concerns and fears over visibility at the junctions with the main road could be dealt with by conditions placed on any approval

Marketing expert Daisy Whitehouse has proposed conversion of a barn into two holiday lets and building of five holiday cabins at Stone Fold Farm, Stump Hall Road, Higham.

In a statement read to the committee she said she had a passion to make the Sabden Valley and Pendle better known as a beautiful tourist destination.

It added: “I want to create a hidden oasis. A magical place.”

Local resident Norman Mitchell told the councillors that the plan - complete with hot tubs and barbecues - would destroy ‘a unique and beautiful place’.

Another neighbour of the farm Robin Willoughby said the scheme would ‘desecrate’ the Forest of Bowland AONB.

Nearby residents Becky Murrell said Stump Hall Road was too narrow for the cars of visiting holidaymakers and the visibility at the junction with the access road to the site too poor.

Mr Cameron said Mrs Whitehouse had agreed to a speed survey and work on the entrance road to improve visibility if necessary.

Liberal Democrat Cllr David Whipp moved that the application be refused on the grounds of highway safety and the proposed cabins’ impact on the area of natural beauty.

He was backed by Old Laund Booth ward’s Cllr Brian Newman who described the Sabden Valley as ‘Pendle’s jewel in the crown’ and Barrowford independent Cllr Ken Turner who said it was ‘a hidden gem’.

The refusal was backed with only committee chairman and council leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal abstaining.