Controversial plans to build a 35,000 plot cemetery near the Blackburn-Oswaldtwistle border have been withdrawn.

Last October the Issa Foundation, managed by billionaire Blackburn brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, revealed plans for a new cemetery off Blackburn Road.

The application site covers an area of 84 acres to accommodate a total 35,000 burial plots, which would be accessible to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

The plans include an administration building, ‘funeral parlour’ and caretaker accommodation with a provision for over 660 car parking spaces.

Many local people, upset at the prospect of losing the green space on the edge of Oswaldtwistle, have banded together to form campaign groups opposed to the plans.

On Friday, an email was sent to Hyndburn Borough Council from Atticus Planning saying the application was being with withdrawn with immediate effect.

However, the Issa Foundation is expected to return with revised plans once a meeting has been held with the project team.

The email read: "Having discussed with my client I can confirm that we would like to withdraw the application with immediate effect.

"We're going to take stock of the various consultee comments made to date and have a project team meeting next week to run through a revised application.

"I'll keep you posted on progress and when we're likely to submit."

Earlier this week an environmental report to Hyndburn Council objected to the planning application “because the proposed cemetery development could pose an unacceptable risk of pollution of groundwater' and would be 'contrary to heritage and landscape planning policies'.

An initial assessment by the council’s conservation officer say the new feature ‘is visually at odds with the historic landscape.’

The report stated: “The present visual unity of the Green Belt countryside would be lost and the cemetery would separate the fields of Cow Hill from the surviving fields of Stand Hill.

“The cut and fill of the proposed development would destroy any archaeological or other heritage assets which lie within the boundary of the site. The scheme would divert the two historic tracks, which are public footpaths, and harm the rural setting of heritage assets described above.

“The setting of the listed Knuzden Hall, Knuzden Hall Farmhouse and to a lesser extent, Stanhill Hall would be harmed by the encroachment of the development adjacent to their perimeters affecting views towards and out of the listed buildings.”

Residents have made their concerns known about traffic issues and they object to any sort of development on the site.

Presently, the main cemeteries in the areas are at Pleasington in Blackburn and Burnley Road in Accrington.