MAJOR expansion proposals which will see 76 new berths at Reedley Marina have found favour with Pendle councillors.

The initial phase of the Leeds Liverpool canal development has now sold out and bosses are looking to use a neighbouring field, near Oliver Ings Bridge, for the extra moorings.

Councillors had originally deferred plans for the marina’s overhaul, but were won over following a site inspection.

Borough planners in neighbouring Burnley had previously given the green light to an access road off Barden Lane.

Managing director Jason Fildes said: “We are delighted that we have filled the first phase and are now looking to expand.

“This is one of the most under-used stretches of canal in the UK, with some of the most beautiful views in the country.

“There is also going to be a wetland created nearby which will give visitors the chance to study some of our important wildlife.”

Natural clay will be used to create the base and sides of the marina, which will see ‘laybys’ offered for boats.

Canal boats have proved popular with a range of users, from weekend sailors to those who live abroad, but maintain crafts for when they return to East Lancashire.

Mr Fildes said several boats were owned by three, or four, families, who took turns using the marina.

Construction work is expected to begin on the additional berths next summer and the project should be completed by early 2013.

Two-metre highway security fencing has been approved and a car park, currently unauth-orised, can be retained.

Six extra parking spaces have also been pencilled in.