COUNCILLORS will be asked to throw out plans for major controversial changes at Colne's Old Grammar School parish rooms.

St Bartholomew's Parish Church wants to build a two-storey extension and disabled access ramp at the 200-year-old building, across the churchyard from the ancient church.

Church council members want to concentrate activities on the site. The new proposal is smaller in scale and height to a scheme rejected in June last year.

But Colne and District Committee will be asked on Thursday to also turn down the new proposal.

Planning officers say the extension would significantly undermine the setting of a unique collection of listed buildings within the churchyard.

The church says existing building are inadequate and the Parochial Church Council wants to develop the site as a focus for the church's secular and community activities.

The ground floor would provide a reception area, kitchen, stores, toilets and office with the first floor having three further stores and meeting room.

The church wants to extend the Junior Church and to use the site for community activities such as parents and tots groups.

In the last five years the church has spent £10,000 on dry and wet rot but cannot spend such money in the future if the premises are not suitable for its needs.

English Heritage has not objected to the application and the Ancients Monuments Society, which objected to earlier proposals, said it was pleased its comments had been taken into account in the new scheme. The Georgian Group refers to the new scheme as a marked improvement on the old but Pendle Civic Trust which were broadly in favour of the original scheme regards the new proposals as unacceptable.

Heritage Trust for the North West, which carried out work on the Old Grammar school in the 1980s, opposes the addition of an extension larger than the present small building and suggests a single storey new building at the rear of the north side of the church would be out of sight and that the school building could be converted into housing to generate revenue.