A MAJOR £1.8million scheme is set to breathe new life into empty homes across Rossendale, it has been announced.

Rossendale Council has successfully bid for the cash from the Homes and Communities Agency as part of its Affordable Housing Programme 2015 to 2018.

The scheme will target long-term empty properties across the borough, the council said.

Council leader Alyson Barnes said: “This is really good news for Rossendale and follows on from a successful empty homes programme we’ve managed over the past few years on behalf of Pennine Lancashire.

“This money will allow us to continue this work and address long-term empty properties which often cause blight to neighbourhoods.”

The cash will be made available in March 2015 and supports a three-year programme focusing on empty residential and commercial properties across the borough.

The project will offer a housing management service and loans of up to £21,000 to the owners of empty homes to help them with the cost of bringing their properties back into use.

The funding will be used primarily to complement town centre regeneration activities within Bacup, Rawtenstall and Haslingden.

Coun Helen Jackson, portfolio holder for Environmental Health and Housing, said: “This programme not only reduces the problems which empty homes cause to neighbourhoods but also helps the owners of these properties find a solution to make them habitable again.

“This funding will go a long way to address the current problem but I know there’s still much more to do and we’ll be looking at more opportunities to bring resources into the borough to deal with empty homes.”