The future of an iconic building remains uncertain after fears were raised over the safety of badgers on the site.

A decision on the proposed conversion of The British Engineerium, near Hove Park, into a museum for up to 50,000 people a year has been deferred after councillors voiced doubts over the safety of a badger set on the site.

Labour and Co-op councillors Bob Carden and Leigh Farrow requested more information on the number of badgers on the site at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss the future of the Victorian pump room.

Councillors expressed frustration that an ecology officer from the council was not able to attend the meeting to answer queries on the threat of building work to the protected species.

Planners had recommended the proposals to build a two-storey extension and a new exhibition hall be approved.

Local property developer Mike Holland, who saved the building from the auctioneer’s hammer in 2006, is behind the plans.

He stressed the importance of preserving the look and feel of the industrial architecture.

The building has since been used as a museum but closed in 2006, with restoration and renovation works currently taking place to reopen the site.

English Heritage supports the idea in general but the Brighton Society and Save Hove have both opposed the plans and neighbours had raised concerns about continuity of materials and the impact on wildlife, including badgers.

The plans involve the creation of a new underground exhibition area below the existing car park.

Disabled access would be created and solar panels would be installed on a new workshop.

Coun Bob Carden said: “I was very disappointed that the issue of the badgers was glossed over and swept under the carpet.

“There was not enough information on the badgers to allow us to make a decision.”

Mr Holland said he was unconcerned with the delay.

He said: “We have done all the reports on the badgers and once this is explained to the councillors, I don’t see that there will be a problem.