A LIBERAL Democrat councillor on Pendle Council has resigned over the "strains" of the plans to regenerate a former Barnoldswick school.

Councillor Marlene Hill-Crane has become an independent after turning her back on the party.

In February Barnoldswick Town Council, chaired by Coun Hill-Crane, pulled out of the Rainhall Road School Community and Enterprise Centre scheme following an offer for it to stay in its offices at the Old Library, Fernlea Avenue.

The council was due to contribute £48,000 to the flagship regeneration project which would offer training opportunities and space for small businesses in the former school building.

The scheme may still go ahead but currently hangs in the balance.

Town councillor David Whipp said withdrawal of funds could be the death of the Rainhall Road scheme and that the town council's investment in the project was crucial in terms of capital contribution and long term sustainability.

Coun Hill-Crane, who represents the Craven ward, said: "It has been a strain on everyone concerned and it has been going on for some time.

"I now feel free. I am on the council and will stand as an independent. I am 70 and they have not seen anything yet."

Coun Allan Buck, chairman of Pendle Liberal Democrats group, said, "We are sorry that Marlene has left the group.

"It is not a complete surprise; she has become increasingly detached in recent months.

"She has not been pulling in the same direction as the rest of the team for some time."