A PROPOSAL to turn a disused Victorian pub into bedsits has been approved at the second attempt.

Councillors gave planning permission for a revised scheme for the conversion of the empty shell of The Britannia in Nuttall Street, Accrington, into a house in multiple occupation.

This was despite fears from neighbours and some councillors about its location and concerns about drugs and crime in the locality.

Hyndburn Council Planning Committee approved the project by seven votes to five.

In December councillors rejected a bid by Mudassar Iqbal, of the Burnley-based Blackwood Invest Group Ltd, to turn the pub in Nuttall Street, Accrington, into 13 bedsits with two shared lounges because four of the rooms were too small.

But on Thursday the committee approved Mr Iqbal's revised scheme with just 10 flats after a planning officer's report recommended approval.

It had described the revised application as 'a substantial improvement over the earlier scheme' adding that 'it would not be reasonable to refuse planning permission on the basis of an un-substantiated fear of an increase in crime'.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Eamonn Higgins said: "I am pleased to see this application passed and the building being brought back into use.

"The concerns raised at the committee by some councillors were not really planning issues."