THE owner of a site controversially approved for the building of 133 homes said work would ‘definitely’ start before the end of a two-year deadline.

Blackburn with Darwen Council approved the plans for the site between Pole Lane and Spring Meadows in Darwen in December, 2012.

But in giving the go-ahead, councillors imposed a two-year deadline for work to begin before planning permission would be withdrawn.

Since then, no work has been done on the site with the December deadline looming just eight months away.

Builder David Knowles, working in partnership with Ruttle Plant Holdings, said the plan was to sell the land on to a developer with the planning permissions already in place.

Mr Knowles said: “There are about six different companies who are very interested in buying it. “I reckon it will be sold within the next 12 to 14 weeks.

“I am confident work will begin well before December. “If it didn’t sell the only option would be to develop it ourselves but I do not think that will be necessary.”

The plans, which had originally been knocked back in 2011, were met with a great deal of anger by neighbouring residents concerned about a number of issues, notably an increase in traffic in Pole Lane.

The development became part of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s ambitious plans to build up to 4,000 rural executive homes in the the borough in response to new Government targets.

Other Darwen sites nominated for the ‘National Planning Policy Framework’ were at Ellerslie House, Bury Fold Lane, Bailey’s Field, Cranberry Lane, Jack’s Key, Johnson New Road in Waterside and Springside Works at Belmont.