A long-anticipated planning application to refurbish an East Lancs market hall does not yet meet the economic, design and public space boost needed for the future, say councillors.

Plans for the new Colne market hall include a new glazed front and food hall space but have been deferred for further talks between councillors and architects.

Proposals debated by the Colne area committee have divided traders for months amid relocation and consultation worries.

Conservative Cllr Ash Sutcliffe told the committee the "radical changes" first envisaged had not yet materialised.

He added: "I really like the food hall space. It will support the night-time economy, allow people top get food perhaps before going to a theatre or pub. It will open-up space to new vendors.

“The canopy is good but the entrances are a bit confusing. There are two entrances. We also need a good outdoor market space, which is level with anchor points for stalls.”

Cllr Sutcliffe insisted a retail unit in front of the market hall "would go against" the grain for a market which needed to be more flexible.

Fellow Tory Cllr Sarah Cockburn-Price said: “Details are really important, for aesthetics and economics. We also need good, accessible public toilets. We need to learn lessons from sticking public toilets in a dodgy corner near the bus station, where they were an epicentre of crime.

“Also, through being on the PEARL board, we have learnt lessons about trying to please everyone. We are trying to please the people of Colne. But Colne has been a market town for centuries and we have got to get visitors wanting to come here, to linger and spend money. It won’t be successful if the market hall does not look nice.

“Keeping a front shop unit was intended to appease a tenant. But that tenant is now looking at another prime site, which is good.”

Cllr Keiran McGladdery said: “Public toilets should be at the front of the market hall, in public view and good light.

"Many residents would be reluctant to go down the side street, such as older people, those with mobility issues or young children. They don’t want to go into pubs to use toilets . Colne needs safe, acessible and comfortable public toilets. It’s really important.”

The application was deferred for further work.