A RESIDENT’S campaign to return a street back to its historic name will move a big step closer to success tonight.

Councillors on Blackburn with Darwen borough planning and highways committee are set to start the process of changing the signs on ‘Eugene Van As Drive’ back to ‘Star Drive’.

Officer have recommended the move after the council received a 72 signature petition gathered by Stephen Smith of nearby Moorland Avenue.

He said local people were baffled by the change to ‘Eugene Van As Drive’ in 2003 replacing the original name that honoured one of the town’s most famous paper mills.

The private road stretches down to the site of the former Star Paper Mill in Feniscowles, which was taken over by South African firm Sappi Fine Papers in 1990.

In 2003, the firm renamed the road in honour of chief executive of the company, who headed the firm for 12 years until 2003 and whose wife Gillian was brought up in Blackburn.

Sappi closed the site in 2008.

When he launched the petition in September, Mr Smith said: “It’s just left myself and lots of people I have talked to baffled and it just seems silly to keep calling it that when Sappi don’t even operate here anymore.

“I want to see the name Star Drive re-instated because it means a lot more to the Blackburn people.”

There are no registered addresses on the road and the officers want to start the consultation process for the reversion of the name which required a petition of at least 50 signatures.

Livesey and Pleasington councillor Alan Cottam, whose ward includes Feniscowles, said: “I will support this change.

“It is a historic name dating from when we had Star Mill, Sun Mill, Moon Mill and Eclipse Mill all side by side.”

His Tory ward councillor colleague John Pearson said: “I think this is the right thing to do.

“Everybody knows the road as Star Drive and remembers the mill as Star Mill.

“I am sure the consultation process will back the change. It makes sense.”

Council regeneration boss Maureen Bateson supports the move provided it is backed by local residents during the consultations.