An application to turn an office space into holiday accommodation to be rented out on Airbnb has been refused by the council.

An extension to The Conference Centre in Brockhall Village was approved in 2018 and work was completed last year, which brought a two-storey office space.

Currently, the entire building houses a mixed use of office space, a fitness studio, a hairdressers, conference rooms, and a convenience shop.

The building is located in Brockhall Village, a gated community in Old Langho, near Whalley, that was developed during the 1990s and boasts some of the most expensive house prices in Lancashire.

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In its response, Ribble Valley Council said the application had failed to demonstrate the site’s current use was not viable.

Its statement said: “No information has been provided that would robustly demonstrate that the office space in question has been marketed for business use for a minimum period of six months, nor has it been demonstrated that the current use is not viable for employment purposes, or that the loss will be no adverse impact upon the local economy.”

The council published two third-party responses to the plans, one backing the plans and the other voicing their concern.

The resident in support said they believed the change of use was “in the best interest of the community” and would contribute to the diversity of the neighbourhood.

Speaking against the plans, another resident raised concerns about previous applications submitted by the same applicant, including the one to increase the size of the village shop, which they say has only increased the number of tables at the village cafe.

A planning statement submitted to the council said: “The application is to change the use of one of the first-floor office units to a two-bedroom apartment which can be used as a short-term rental or a holiday let using various social network platforms such as Airbnb and

“The reason for the change of use proposal is the reduction in clients wanting to rent office accommodation when companies can now have much smaller office space and a workforce that can operate remotely from home, only having to meet employers occasionally or not at all.

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“This alternative use makes use of floor space that is currently vacant and at present no enquiries for the space for any use in the commercial climate have been made.

“The proposed use of short-term rental or holiday let fits in with the tourist policies of the local authority and provides the building and its owner with income that would otherwise be lost.”

The apartment would have had two bedrooms, one a double and one a single, providing space for up to three people.

The applicant has six months to appeal the council’s decision.