A TIMBER chalet-style building for community activity has been given the nod for an East Lancashire museum.

Plans for The Whitaker in Rawtenstalll had generated some concerns regarding potential noise disturbance, bigger events, visitor toilets and facilities and the impact on trees.

But one consultee told a borough development control committee meeting several possible issues had been addressed by planning conditions for the new addition.

Councillors raised questions on the chalet's proximity to the main venue, the use of lighting around the building and the availability of toilets on site.

There was also a discussion on disabled access to the complex and the impact of late openings on Thursdays, before councillors unanimously approved the application.

The proposals centred on creating part of a ‘community village’ for local groups, with only small workshops, educational and well-being activities held during normal museum hours.

Borough planning officers had recommended the plans for approval.

The main museum building at Rawtenstall dates from the Victorian era but has some modern extensions.

Planning officers said the proposed wooden chalet would not harm the site’s appearance.

In the planning application, the council states:  The plan for the chalet in the Whitaker garden is to enable us to have an additional space to support our community and outreach work more than anything.

“We had funding to develop the garden space which is now complete and gives us a wonderful space behind the building that we hope to utilise much more and, eventually, make accessible to the public from the park at the rear.

“We already have Rossy Rays and Beacon Dementia groups utilising the old coach-house and a wooden workshop uni9t in the courtyard area.

"We want to build on this ‘community village’ initiative. Having an additional space will enable us to have further space for workshops, well-being activities and a space away from the main building for small talks, schools workshops and additional space for community groups to use.

"We often struggle for this kind of space within the museum, because most spaces are utilised for exhibitions and hospitality operation. We envisage the [new] space being used primarily during the museum opening hours.”

The cabin will be set back to the rear, obscured from view from the museum and extension.

The Whitaker has a premises licence for entertainment activities, late night refreshment and alcohol from Mondays to Sundays, from 10am to midnight for indoor spaces and until 11pm for the outdoor spaces. But planning conditions were suggested to control the cabin’s uses to smaller workshops, meetings, education and well-being activities, and to museum hours.