Controversial plans to convert a landmark church into a nightclub have been unanimously rejected.

London-based entrepreneur Yung Dan Liu was seeking permission to transform the empty Christ Church, in Maryport, into a late-night venue.

The proposals for King Street sparked 19 letters of objection, with concerns cited including noise pollution, littering and drunken behaviour on what is now a quiet residential street.

Planning chiefs had recommended the plans be rejected, arguing the new use for the building was “not appropriate”.

Speaking at the meeting, objector Colin Reed said: “Whatever happens to that building, I would ask you ensure it respects the value that is placed on it by the people.

“None of us wants a church to stand unused and derelict, but what we do want is a church that is put to appropriate use, and which supports the conservation area.

“This application completely lacks respect for the history of Christ Church and is entirely inappropriate.”

Planning chief Simon Sharp said there were vacant sites in the town centre but the applicant had not shown any of these had been considered as possible alternatives.

And while the church is not a listed building, Mr Sharp stressed that it was nevertheless part of the history of the town, qualifying as a “non-designated heritage asset”.

He said that the harbourside building, known locally as the ‘mariners’ church’, has a “significant impact on the character and appearance” of the conservation area.

The meeting also heard officers were “not convinced” by proposed noise reduction measures, particularly given the number of windows in the church, all of which would have to be preserved for heritage reasons.

Councillor Will Wilkinson said: “I believe the area is not fit for this sort of development. It brings too many alarms, too many concerns with regard to health and safety and highways, parking and (access for) emergency services.

“You are also talking of residents having taxis pulling up at three or four in the morning. I believe it’s just a definite no-no.”

Maryport councillor George Kemp, who holds the environment portfolio and has a pub in the town, said: “The building is starting to become really in a bad state of disrepair.

“Most of the local residents really want to see it developed but not into something of this type: it’s totally unsuitable to be made into a nightclub.

“I don’t know if they are aware of the night-time economy in Maryport at the moment, but at weekends it’s non-existent.”

Residents have previously expressed concerns that doorways of nearby homes will be “used as a toilet”.

The town council said Maryport already has a lot of licensed premises, and the proposal would not benefit the economy of the town.

The church was closed in 2013 and has remained empty ever since, with initial discussions of the plans being welcomed.

Cumbria Police stated that the plans have “failed” to show that the building would be fit for purpose as a nightclub, or that anti-social behaviour had been taken into consideration.

Police have also acknowledged residents’ fear of increased crime in the area.