A GAS main has forced part of a new 200,000 square foot factory to move more into 'Green Belt' countryside.

Growing housewares maker and exporter What More UK had received planning permission for the new building at its main manufacturing base on Altham Business Park off Shorten Brook Way in 2018.

But ground surveys revealed a high-pressure gas main under the a section of the original site.

So the expanding Burnley-based business, behind the popular brand ‘Wham’, had to apply for planning permission to move part of the building on to neighbouring green belt countryside next to the business park.

On Wednesday the change was approved by Hyndburn Council's planning committee.

An officers' report told councillors: "The building would be moved further south into the Green Belt than the previously approved scheme due to the presence of a high pressure main beneath the site and the associated significant expense of moving that if the building is developed in the approved location.

"Whilst the floor area remains unchanged, the footprint of the building has moved approximately 35metres southwards and the shape of the building altered slightly.

"This brings the building more into the Green Belt than was originally proposed.

"At the time of the consideration of the original planning permission being granted the applicant had actively sought to design the building to reduce its impact on the Green Belt.

"In terms of impact on the Green Belt, whilst the amended scheme will result in loss of Green Belt land (albeit modest in size) it is not considered that it encroaches into the countryside in a manner that could be perceived to be unacceptable or indeed harmful."

The committee accepted the report's recommendation for approval and unanimously granted permission for the change.

Committee vice-chairman Dave Parkins said: "I can't see any problems with this. It will create more employment and I think it will be good development."

Clayton-le-Moors ward's Cllr Tim O'Kane said: "This makes common sense."

The development, which will increase the firm’s overall floor space by around 40 per cent is part of £20m investment plan by What More UK which is headquartered on Padiham's Shuttleworth Mead Business Park.