Plans to turn a former bakery nestled on a town's high street into a taxi rank have been refused by the council.

Businessman Aahid Gafoor submitted an application to Rossendale Borough Council in April asking for permission to change the use of the vacant building from a former bakery, to a radio control private hire office for telephone bookings only.

The property, in Union Street, Bacup, used to be Manning's Bakery, and is located in the centre of a row of five business properties, which back onto Bacup's market square.

However, following a meeting of Rossendale Borough Council's planning committee earlier this week, a decision was made to refuse permission.

The decision notice stated: "The proposed use of the ground floor as a taxi office would result in the loss of active shop frontage that would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the primary shopping area of Bacup District Centre.

"It would therefore be contrary to several polices in the Rossendale Local Plan which seek to maintain or strengthen the retail offer and vitality and viability of town and district centres and the Bacup 2040 Vision and Masterplan.

"The proposal would not comply with the development plan and would not improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area.

"There were no amendments to the scheme, or conditions which could reasonably have been imposed, which could have made the development acceptable and it was therefore not possible to approve the application."

Original plans proposed to carry out repairs to the property, which would mainly be focused on the rear, and the applicant sought to reassure the council the front would not be changed other than to alter the signage over the shop, which would be traditionally sign written.

The submitted planning statement read: "Should any repairs need to be undertaken it will be by a registered window surveyor qualified to specify and oversee any sash repair works, (this may include secondary double glazing).

"The main body of work will be to the rear of the property, the windows will be opened up and mullioned to the original style using new gritstone/roughly rusticated/tooled to match the existing, with new sliding sash timber double glazed windows and hardwood timber doors painted to meet with the conservation officers/civic trusts agreement."

The application also referred to the 2040 vision set out by Rossendale Borough Council and mentioned the approach to upgrade and refurbish the area making "Bacup a place to be", stating that the proposal would provide a positive enhancement to the area.

The statement went on: "Although there may be initial disdain towards a private hire booking office, the applicant is prepared to upgrade and enhance the building in line with the vision, we would suggest that as 2040 is 28 years away the investment should be welcomed.

"By creating a telephone only booking office and not a waiting room or driver rest area the possible nuisance will be thoroughly removed.

"This approach also keeps cars within the designated waiting areas and not on the streets opposite and adjacent to the office.

"The proposal is considered to be a positive enhancement both of the building and the conservation area. 

"Although the business is not seen as an asset, an occupied property becomes a desirable property for further business transfer without the need to refurbish.

"With all of above in mind impact on the heritage asset is therefore wholly positive."