NEW offices may have to be pulled down if it is built on the former Skipton to Colne railway at Elslack, it has been claimed.

Craven planners last week approved plans for the new building at equestrian suppliers Brooksbank Industries at Station Yard, in addition to the extension of an existing building - both resubmissions of previously approved applications.

But they were warned by a member of the public they were potentially acting illegally by failing to take into account the Railway Act which had never been repealed and which protected the track bed.

David Penney, of the Skipton and East Lancashire Railway Action Partnership (SELRAP) which is campaigning to have the line reinstated, said the entire trackbed was effectively still a railway.

"It is not a possible, but more of a definite that the line will reopen and when it comes to it, they will have to knock this permanent structure down so the line can be reinstated," he said.

Craven District Council's planning committee was told that Brooksbank wanted to build new offices and a showroom on the site of former workshops.

In addition, the business, which specialises in the production and sale of leather, plastic and other equestrian goods, wanted to extend an existing warehouse.

The plans had received objections from villagers with regard to increased traffic, noise and disturbance, and the harmful impact on the area.

Ward councillor Patrick Mulligan said Elslack Parish Meeting believed there were valid reasons to refuse the scheme.

He said the Tempest Arms, also in the village, had expanded and with it had come an increase in traffic and the junction onto the Thornton-in-Craven road could take no more.

Cllr Carl Lis (Cons) said it would be wrong to stop a business which was doing well from expanding, but added he would like to see improvements to the site access, which he compared to taking a "blind leap".

"There seems little question that an accident will happen there. I think it is imperative that something is done to the access, but also imperative that we don't put this business off from expanding in Craven," he said.

He added he would like to know if the council was potentially committing a crime by allowing development on the track-bed.

Councillors were told that Brooksbank Industries would be made aware of the SELRAP comments.

In approving both applications, an additional condition was added for the provision of visibility splays at the site entrances.