Plans to demolish a historic fellside inn and replace it with four domestic dwellings have been rejected by Ribble Valley Borough Council.
The proposals for The Moorcock Inn, Waddington, went in front of the planning committee last week and were refused after a split vote of seven against seven required the casting vote of the committee’s chair.
The inn, which closed in 2010, has been the subject of much debate as it is now in such a derelict state and declared by many locals as a “blot on the landscape”.
Coun. Paul Elms told the planning committee that he was firmly in favour of the conversion of the inn, which lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Slaidburn Road, Waddington fell.
He said: “It is a complete wreck of a building – disused and derelict, with no architectural importance and on a busy road. It is an eyesore, a blot on the landscape and an embarrassment.”
The planning application detailed support from the village parish council for the re-development, who said they would welcome plans to transform the location and make it an asset to the area.
Plans for the demolition of the hotel to make room for a housing development were previously submitted in May 2013 after Ribble Valley Borough Council had turned down a similar proposal in November 2012, citing that the size of the houses did not meet local need.
But several of the councillors at last week’s meeting said they were concerned that allowing the demolition simply because it was an “eyesore” could set a damaging precedent.
Coun. James Rogerson said: “We are opening ourselves up to blackmail if we approve this. A lot less people want to live in the countryside now, as they want to live nearer to services. It would be a real struggle to sell the houses.”
Coun. Robert Thompson said: “It would be a very dangerous avenue to go down. The application is against the core strategy and has problems for sustainability.”