A BUSINESSMAN says he will sue the council over a row about whether his premises are on green belt land.

Noor Hussain wants to demolish his Laneside Garage business and replace it with a bigger one.

But planners at Hyndburn refused his application when it came before them.

They say the business is on green belt land and would increase traffic, parking and noise in the area.

Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth have objected to the proposal, and there were six other letters of objection raising concerns about noise, opening hours, traffic speed, congestion, and lack of sanitary facilities at the garage.

Mr Hussain bought the business, in Livingstone Road, Altham, three years ago. Since then three similar applications for planning permission have been refused.

He says the new building, which would provide two MOT bays, an additional workshop bay and office, toilets and reception area, would actually mean fewer cars on the road.

"It would reduce traffic. At the moment there are five cars waiting outside but I have only got one set of equipment so I can only have one in at at time."

Mr Hussain said he plans to appeal and was taking legal advice about information given to him before he bought the premises.

"I'm suing the council because when I bought the premises the local search showed the land is not green belt. According to Hyndburn Council the plan they drew up in 1996 was wrong.

"Three years after I bought the premises it becomes green belt. My solicitor did a local search and it didn't come up as green belt. I relied on that information and bought it. Once I bought it and came to expand, it became green belt. The council gave us wrong information in their search. If I had known I wouldn't have bought it."

Brendan Lyons, chief planning and transportation officer said: "Mr Hussain's applications were refused, because in planning officers' view it would expand the business too much in an unsuitable location.

"The garage is on a residential road and there have been many complaints from neighbours about the impact on them. We feel that the considerable expansion proposed in this application will make these problems worse.

"The site is also technically in the green belt, which means that planning policy is against large extensions. The printed version of the council's local plan map incorrectly showed the site as open space, which would also have weighed against redevelopment. The map has now been corrected and a review of the local plan has begun."

Coun Dave Parkins said: "It's in a residential area, and people are entitled to peace and quiet. The place for a business like this is on an industrial estate not a residential area."

"I think he should get into negotiations with the authority for a position on an industrial estate."