A proposal to turn a family house opposite some old people's bungalows into bedsit accommodation has been 'reluctantly' approved by councillors.

Hyndburn Planning Committee approved Carly Wilson's application for a Certificate of Lawful Development for the conversion of the property in Maden Street, Church, into a house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Member voted by nine votes to four to confirm approval after the borough's chief planning and transportation officer Simon Prideaux told them they had no choice but to do so.

The proposal was debated by the committee on Wednesday after a referral from local councillor Loraine Cox.

Miss Wilson's plan would see the two-bedroom mid-terrace property become a four-bedroom HMO with up to four single occupants.

The property is opposite a set of old people's bungalows and is currently occupied by a household of four people.

Mr Prideaux said it was 'unfortunate' the application had come before councillors because the rules governing the granting of the certificate had been laid down by parliament.

He said: "There is no discretion. It's black and white. This is essentially permitted development."

Committee chair Cllr Judith Addison asked Mr Prideaux: "This seems easy to me.

"We have to vote yes because it's permitted development?"

He replied: Yes."

Baxenden's Cllr Terry Hurn said: "We will vote for it with reluctance.

"We have got to vote yes but we don't want to do it."

A report to the meeting said: "The application relates to a two-storey mid-terrace house.

"The applicant seeks certification that the building is a house that can be lawfully used as a four-bed house in multiple occupation, thereby not requiring the planning permission of the council.

"The applicant states the present lawful use of the premises is within Class C3.

"External inspection of the premises supports, by its external appearance and characteristics, the conclusion that it is a house.

"The application describes the proposed use as a four-bed house in multiple occupation within Class C4 and shows in the supporting statement the house laid out to provide four bedrooms, a dining kitchen, a WC, and a bathroom/WC.

"The conclusion is that the present use is within Class C3 and the proposed use would be within Class C4 and the proposed change of use would be granted by the General Permitted Development Order."

Had the proposal been for an HMO with six or more occupants it would have needed full planning permission and a decision by the committee.