Plumes of white smoke have been spotted coming from the back of the old Green Bengal building in Darwen Road, which could be knocked down and turned into a Sainsburys and two other shops, if plans are approved.
One resident, Simon Pearce, who lives in Lower House Walk, contacted the council to make a formal complaint about the smoke — and also raised concerns that work had started on the building before developers, CW Construction, had formally been given permission.
He said: “The air was unpleasant to breathe in, and I could smell it from my house a few hundred yards away.
“The whole impression the builders on the site have been given is that the building is ready to come down and be demolished — but they haven’t received planning permission yet.
“I find it disrespectful to the local community and it’s insensitive.”
At the latest meeting of the planning committee, councillors deferred making a decision on the building, previously The Volunteer pub, until March to give time for developers to consider reducing the number of units on the site.
A spokesman from CW Construction confirmed that a brazier — a portable heater which burns coals — had been used on the site by workmen, but stopped on Tuesday.
He denied the company had started any work on the building but said they had started some building work on the car park area.
He said: “While we would be perfectly entitled to commence internal strip out works without any planning permission, we would point out that no works will be undertaken prior to planning permission being determined.
“With regard to the works being undertaken in the car park area, these are site investigation works.”