The transformation of a boarded-up 200-year-old village pub into a convenience store looks set to make a significant step forward next week.

Thistlewood Properties Ltd wants to convert the Bay Horse in Manchester Road, Baxenden. A previous bid to demolish the building and build a Co-op shop was rejected by Hyndburn planners in October 2021.

But now councillors have been urged to approve the latest scheme which would retain and refurbish the fabric of the pub, add an extension and employ 15 staff.

An officer's report to Hyndburn Planning Committee on Tuesday recommends granting permission for the conversion with 15 conditions.

It says: "The site is located in Baxenden village immediately opposite the Grade II listed Church of St. John the Baptist and Baxenden War Memorial.

"There are limited community facilities and services within the village.

"The proposal is for the conversion, extension and change of use of the former Bay Horse public house to form a local convenience store. It has ceased trading since July 2020.

"Lancashire County Council is constructing a new toucan signal-controlled crossing on Manchester Road along the frontage of the development site.

"The prevailing evidence from the Council’s Retail Study (2016) has suggested that a convenience store is one of the much-needed community facilities for Baxenden village, and the proposal would meet this demand.

"A report by independent market specialists Savills concluded that if Bay Horse is reopened as a public house, it would not survive as a business.

"In turn, its operation may have a detrimental impact on the nearby existing venues - three other similar pubs, as well as the Baxenden Village Club.

"The former Bay Horse public house is seen as a historical asset of importance.

"It appears to be a late eighteenth or early nineteenth-century coaching inn, with stables and coach house building. The age of the building, some 200 years old or more, puts it among the oldest buildings in Baxenden village.

"The proposed scheme would be in keeping with the character of the former Bay Horse public house building.

"More importantly, it would help bring this non-designated heritage asset back into viable beneficial use.

"Furthermore, the retention and reintroduction of a beneficial use would preserve and potentially enhance the setting of the neighbouring Grade II listed St. John’s Church and war memorial.

"It is considered that the benefits of the proposed development are unique to its context and location."