A forest hub which welcomes more than 60,000 visitors per year has had plans to move its café and introduce a new bike hire shop approved.

The hub in Gisburn Forest currently comprises two buildings – Stephen Park, which is used for occasional overnight accommodation, and a barn to the west of Stephen Park, which houses a café and visitors’ centre.

Gisburn Forest, which is managed by Forestry England, had been looking to move the café across to the ground floor of Stephen Park and bring the bike hire shop to the former café site.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Stephen Park building at Gisburn Forest HubThe Stephen Park building at Gisburn Forest Hub (Image: JWPC)

The plans have been approved by Ribble Valley Borough Council under the condition that each of the two facilities operate only between 10am and 5pm.

A planning heritage statement submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council said: “The proposals form part of a strategy to improve access to Gisburn Forest, which includes upgrades to the cycle routes through the forest and the better facilities proposed by the bike hire and sales and an improved café facility.

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“The bike hire and sales are located specifically at the site to provide the facility for visitors to the site and will be similar in operation to other existing facilities at Forestry England sites.

“The café and visitors centre facility will be brought into part of the ground floor of the Stephen Park building, shown on the submitted plans, with the remainder of the building remaining in its current use.

Lancashire Telegraph: The cafe will be moved under the plansThe cafe will be moved under the plans (Image: JWPC)

“The proposed café is essentially a relocation of the existing café at the site and the additional bike hire and sales will be strongly associated with visitors to the forest.

“The proposal will not directly change the number of visitors to the forest but will mainly serve to improve the quality and range of facilities to visitors.”

The development must begin no later than the expiration of three years from the date of permission, November 10.