AN ‘eyesore’ former hotel on a busy main road is to be demolished to make way for housing.

Plans to knock down the former Bear Hotel in Cravens Brow, Lower Darwen, have been given the go-ahead by planning officers at Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Once the building, previously known as the Red House, has been levelled, 33 houses will be built on the site.

Fernhurst councillor Denise Gee, who had been calling for action at the site for some time, welcomed the news.

She said: “I am more than delighted. It was my campaign to get this started and remove that eyesore. It seems to have gone on forever. The residents have put up with it for long enough.

“My main worry has been that as a derelict building it has been a hazard for children.

“This will benefit the borough as it will no longer be a blight on the landscape for people driving to Blackburn or Darwen. The sooner they knock it down the better.”

Since being severely damaged by a fire in 2010, campaigners said the site had become dangerous and a magnet for travellers, children and young people and a haven for rats and vermin.

The application pledged the developers would retain all the trees fronting onto Cravens Brow, and plant new ones. The plan includes 11 semi-detached and 10 detached houses as part of a development of ‘spacious family-oriented homes’.

The hotel originally had a 60-cover restaurant, and a function room for 200 people.

It was closed after an arson attack from which staff had to flee.