WORK is well under way at Thwaites new Ribble Valley home but company bosses have yet to decide what to do with their existing Star Brewery site in Blackburn.

The company plans to move into the £8million development at Sykes Holt on the A59 near Mellor Brook next summer.

Now the new brewery, stables and head office is starting to take shape as the ground has been levelled in places, foundations laid and steel erected.

John Draper, director of estates at Thwaites is delighted at the progress but said no decisions have yet been made on the 210-year-old Blackburn site.

Earlier plans to build large Sainsbury’s on the Star Brewery land had to be dropped after the borough refused to give up its long lease on a car park in the middle of the complex and the retail chain ran into difficulties.

Cllr Phil Riley, regeneration boss at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said he was now looking forward to negotiating with Thwaites about the future use of the key site.

Mr Draper said: “Our priority at the moment is around the move to our new site in Mellor Brook.

“We have been in Blackburn for 210 years so we are not in a hurry to decide what we will do with our current site.

“We know it’s a key part of the rapidly developing town centre and once we have completed our move, we will be looking at the best and most suitable option for our old home.”

On the move to the Ribble Valley, Mr Draper, said: “We’re really pleased to see the Sykes Holt site starting to take shape. It’s progressing extremely well.

“The steel structure is now in place for the office block and the brewery so people can see the location of each building and the reaction has been great.

“We were thrilled to discover the listed building on the site is structurally sound and ready for its refurbishment, and are delighted that progress across the board has been even smoother than expected.”

Cllr Riley said: “We are looking forward to working with Thwaites to find a suitable future use for this key site which is beneficial to everybody.

“It is important it fits with our new town centre.”

The project team is now finalising the designs for the stables block.

The building work is being carried out by Nelson-based Barnfield Construction.

Tim Webber, it’s chairman, said: “We’re extremely proud to be working with a company with the history and reputation of Thwaites.”