A security scare at Chorley's Territorial Army centre has sparked a conflict with local residents and traders over parking.

It comes after a van left unattended outside the barracks in Devonshire Road prompted fears over security.

Now army chiefs are looking at making the streets around the base a no-go zone for parked cars.

But residents and business owners have gone to war with the army over the move.

They claim parking is already difficult enough without more legislation to curb it.

If the plans go ahead, double yellow lines would be placed on stretches of Hamilton Road and Regent Road.

Chorley Borough Council, which decides on traffic regulation issues, has sent out a consultation letter to those immediately affected, asking for their views on the proposal.

Sue Makinson, of Makinson's Superstore, Devonshire Road, said: "There is very little parking in this area as it is and if this goes ahead it will very likely affect our business. I'm sure there will be a lot of opposition to the application.

"I think it will also have knock on effects for residents on the streets affected as people will simply park further down the road in front of people's houses."

Most of the area is currently restricted to either permit holders or one-hour parking.

Ralph Snape, ward councillor for the area, said: "I just wonder why this is happening. I will be writing to the council opposing the plans as it will affect the quality of life of people on these streets and could affect the trade of nearby businesses.

"I can't see that there is much of a problem with things as they are at the moment."

The TA Centre is home to the 50-strong 5 General Support Medical Regiment and the Chorley detachment of the Army Cadets. Members of the medical regiment have served two tours of duty in Iraq recently, and had 12 troops serving over there between March 19 and April 15 this year.

A British Army spokesman confirmed the application had been made for security reasons.

He said: "The matter came about after police were called after a van was left outside which we could not identify. The police suggested that we applied for traffic regulations so that security would be made easier.

"It's certainly not our intention to inconvenience people, but it has to be remembered that the building is a military establishment and our policy is generally to restrict parking in the immediate vicinity of such buildings."

A spokesperson for Chorley Borough Council said: "I can confirm that we have received a request from the Territorial Army to extend the yellow lines outside the TA Centre and it is currently out for consultation to allow the public to voice any opinions on the proposal. We cannot comment on the reasons for the application."

The consultation period closes on October 10.