PLANS to make an area of Darwen available for the development of 50 executive homes have been roundly condemned by people living nearby.

Whitehall councillors organised a public meeting ahead of Blackburn with Darwen’s Local Plan going on display in Darwen Town Hall for public consultation.

The plan, published in full last November, included provision for building on the Ellerslie House estate, off Bury Fold Lane.

Coun David Foster, who organised the meeting, said almost all residents in the area were represented in the meeting at Bolton Road Methodist Church, at which 95 per cent of people were against the proposals.

He said: “We had 55 people at the meeting and I think there are about 60 houses in the area.

“I was impressed with the turnout. We were putting extra chairs out in the end.

“It was a positive meeting and people wanted to know how they could object to it.”

Coun Foster said he was careful to explain to those who attended that no physical plans had been submitted to develop the site.

However, under Government rules, the council has to identify potential sites for 9,400 homes to be built by 2026.

Coun Foster said: “People were concerned that the area had only come in at a late stage and was not part of the initial consultations from the council.

“Concerns were expressed that the road was inadequate to take 50 extra houses, in addition people were worried about the impact on wildlife and drainage.

“The lane is used extensively by walkers and increased traffic would be a road safety risk.”

The Local Plan can be inspected at Darwen Town Hall and objections and comments need to be sent to the council between January 27 and March 10.

Other sites for potential development in Darwen include Bailey’s Field Darwen (500-plus homes), Kirkham’s Farm, Cranberry Lane (200 homes), two sites in Pole Lane (130 and 133 homes), Jack’s Key (dozens of homes in small pockets), Johnson New Road, Waterside (80 homes) and Springside Works, Belmont (120 homes).