Controversial plans to build a 35,000 plot cemetery near the Blackburn-Oswaldtwistle border have been withdrawn.
Last October, the Issa Foundation, run by billionaire Blackburn brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, revealed plans for a new cemetery near Blackburn Road.
The application site covers an area of 84 acres to accommodate a total of 35,000 burial plots, which would be accessible to people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Plans include an administration building, a “funeral parlor” and caretaker’s accommodation with provision for over 660 parking spaces.
Many residents, upset at the prospect of losing green space on the edge of Oswaldtwistle, banded together to form campaign groups opposed to the plans.
On Friday, an email was sent to Hyndburn Borough Council by Atticus Planning stating that the application was withdrawn with immediate effect.
However, the Issa Foundation is expected to come back with revised plans once a meeting has taken place with the project team.
The email read: “After discussions with my client, I can confirm that we wish to withdraw the application with immediate effect.
“We will take stock of the various comments from those consulted to date and hold a project team meeting next week to review a revised application.
“I’ll keep you posted on progress and when we’re likely to submit.”
Earlier this week, an environmental report to Hyndburn Council opposed the planning application ‘because the proposed development of the cemetery could pose an unacceptable risk of groundwater pollution’ and would be ‘contrary to the planning policies of the heritage and landscape.
An initial assessment by the council’s conservation officer says the new feature “is visually at odds with the historic landscape”.
The report stated: “The current visual unity of the Greenbelt campaign would be lost and the cemetery would separate the fields of Cow Hill from the surviving fields of Stand Hill.
“Cut and fill from the proposed development would destroy any archaeological or heritage property that lies within the site boundary. The project would divert the two historic trails, which are public trails, and adversely affect the rural setting of the heritage properties described above.
“The setting of listed Knuzden Hall, Knuzden Hall Farm and, to a lesser extent, Stanhill Hall would be harmed by encroachment from development adjacent to their perimeters affecting views into and out of the listed buildings.”
Residents have expressed concerns about traffic issues and oppose any form of development on the site.
Currently the main cemeteries in the area are at Pleasington in Blackburn and Burnley Road in Accrington.