A HOTEL firm backed by Blackburn's billionaire Issa brothers has been given the go ahead to transform one of East Lancs' top venues.

Bosses at Monte Blackburn say that their hopes of upgrading Stanley House, in Mellor, rested on creating more new bedrooms and a luxury spa.

And now Ribble Valley Council's planning committee has given the green light for the venture.

An extra 70 rooms look set to be constructed at the sprawling site, which was acquired by Monte, a company connected with Mohsin and Zuber Issa, in 2020.

Under the scheme, a banqueting hall and extensions to the main entrance are also expected. Part of the current bid was approved in 2008 and partially implemented in 2010 with the building of a bedroom block.

Parish councillors said they did not have objections to the project "in principle" but had voiced highways concerns, issuing a plea for their borough colleagues to make a site visit to assess traffic conditions.

The parish council said the outlook for the area has changed since the creation of the BAE Systems enterprise zone was constructed, further along the A677.

An official said: "Traffic and the speed of traffic has considerably increased since 2008- more is needed in order to protect residents, other road users and particularly visitors to the site."

Planning agent James Ellis said in a statement: "Essential to the objectives for providing a five-star facility were the provision of additional bedrooms, up to 70, (and) a first class spa offering, which would be open to the hotel guests and also public/club membership. (And) a banquet building for weddings and events with outdoor gardens associated with the banquet areas.

John Malchoc, Ribble Valley Council's development control chief, said in a committee report: "The potential further regeneration and economic benefits and biodiversity measures incorporated with the scheme would have a positive benefit that would outweigh any perceived heritage harms from the further expansion of the complex.

"The concerns of the parish council are noted but having regard to the consultee responses and the existence of the extant and not fully implemented consent the scheme has an acceptable impact in relation to all other material considerations."