A controversial proposal to partially fill in a moorland beauty spot for a fishing lake has been put on hold after concerns about its impact on the local environment.

In July, a new planning application was submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council for the redevelopment of Wards Reservoir in Belmont, popularly known as 'The Blue Lagoon'.

A meeting of Belmont Village Residents' Association has expressed concern about the latest plan to redevelop the site.

The proposal from Blue Lagoon Heritage Ltd is for 'engineering works to partially infill and restore the redundant Wards Reservoir, and change of use to fishing lake including site manager's accommodation, fishing centre, a fenced yard, parking and storage barn'.

It has generated a string of objections including from North Turton Parish Council, the Environment Agency, West Pennine Councillor Jean Rigby, the RSPB, and The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, and the borough's highways department.

As a result, Blackburn with Darwen Council planning officers have ruled a special Environmental Impact Assessment must be undertaken before the planning application can be considered.

This is because 'the proposed development is likely to have significant effects on the environment, by virtue of its scale, location and nature'.

Now Blue Lagoon Heritage Ltd has formally withdrawn its application to consider the issues raised - including drainage, ecology and highways - before submitting a revised proposal before the end of the year.

The Environment Agency objection said: "We object to the current scheme due to its likely effect on standing open waterbody, rivers and upland heathland.

"Insufficient information has been provided to assess the risks posed by this activity and insufficient details of mitigation or compensation measures have been submitted to address any identified risks."

Councillors Julie and Neil Slater, who represent the West Pennine ward, said in a joint statement: "We are grateful to the planning department and Environment Agency and our residents for their input into this complex planning issue,

"We look forward to seeing the revised plans.

"When we are notified they have been submitted we will then inform the residents on the next phase and seek their opinions."

A supporting statement with the planning application said the current reservoir is unsafe because of vandalism.

It says the proposed infilling would allow the reservoir to become a fishing lake while associated recreational hub with a cafe 'would generate sufficient income to cover the maintenance of the site'.

It adds that: "The cost of repairing and maintaining the dam in its current configuration is prohibitive."