AN Islamic charity which owns Brierfield Mills is in talks to sell the historic site - less than a year after buying it for more than £1million.

Brian Cookson, Pendle Council’s regeneration chief, confirmed the local authority’s joint venture company Pearl2 would be interested in buying the seven-acre former Smith and Nephew site from Islamic Help, a Birmingham-based disaster relief charity.

Mr Cookson said a deal would only be struck if an ‘appropriate’ price could be agreed and confirmed discussions were ongoing.

Despite repeated attempts to contact the charity’s fundraising manager, he was unavailable for comment.

Islamic Help bought Brierfield Mills for just over £1million at the end of last year.

The charity had said it intended to use the site to house a 5,000-pupil boarding school for Muslim girls. But this was later scaled down, with plans to move just 58 Muslim girls from the Ghausia High School, in Nelson, to the site.

It also proposed a sports centre alongside a ‘commercial village’ housing start-up businesses at the site, which would become its HQ.

However, nine months have passed since those intentions were made public and there has been a lack of activity at the site.

Mr Cookson said: “We have had a number of meetings in recent months with Islamic Help and their representatives.

“We have made it clear that through its joint venture company PEARL2, the council would be interested in purchasing the mill for the purpose of regeneration, provided an appropriate price can be agreed and this discussion is ongoing.”

Clitheroe Road Residents' Association (CRRA) had opposed the school plans, claiming the facility would have been divisive.

A CRRA spokesman said: “It is Brierfield’s jewel in the crown and something that everyone sees on the approach to Pendle.

"It’s our flagship building, with the railway station at its front door and canal at its back door.

“If and when the economy recovers it will be an ideal place for redevelopment.”