Plans to build three business units on land already approved for business use near Longridge have been refused by the council.

In 2019, Ribble Valley Borough Council approved an application for land on Lower Road in Hothersall to be converted for business use.

Applicants J and JJ Harrison then applied to the council in December to build put three buildings on the site, each able to comprise two separate business units.

However, the council say there are enough employment site allocations remaining in the borough to meet their needs.

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A decision notice from the council said: “It has not been adequately demonstrated that the development is essential to the local economy or social well-being of the area, nor that it would represent ‘small-scale uses appropriate to a rural area.’

“As there are sufficient employment site allocations remaining to meet the borough’s current employment needs, at this stage there is no justification to release designated open countryside land to accommodate such development.

“It is further considered that the proposal would significantly undermine the open character of the defined countryside, resulting in significant measurable harm to the character and visual amenities of the area.”

A design and access statement submitted in December said each building would comprise two units with the option of incorporating a proportion of office space from the outset.

It was said the size would enable both new start-ups and existing small businesses which have been established in the Ribble Valley to move onto the site and grow within a new premises more suitable to their needs.

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The statement said: “There have been a number of enquiries to date from a variety of local businesses keen to occupy new premises.

"The businesses are likely to employ around 20 staff and which is predicted to increase.

"The applicants intend to build and let out the premises on this compact site as a genuine farm diversification enterprise.”

The applicants have six months to appeal the council’s decision.

To read the decision and the application in full, visit the council’s planning website.