PLANS to develop Colne precinct have suffered a setback after the collapse of the bank which owned it.

The precinct fell into the hands of Anglo Irish Bank who acted as receivers when the previous owners went into liquidation.

Last year the bank offered to sell the precinct to the council, which would work with its joint venture company PEARL2 to improve the area.

Coun Dorothy Lord, who also chairs Colne in Bloom, said: “We were excited by this idea. The council has seen decades of often difficult negotiations with various owners of the ‘precinct’ area and there are still empty properties there that could be let to active businesses.

“These are some of the few empty shops in Colne and we have no doubt that there are businesses around who would take them if they are marketed in a sensible way.” Negotiations had been ongoing with the bank since last year but it is understood a deal was close to being signed when the bank went into liquidation.

Coun Tony Greaves said councillors still hoped the deal would go ahead.

He said: “It is a good commercial proposition and having the joint venture company PEARL2 means Pendle Council is in a position to take action that will really boost Colne.

“We are pressing the council to get on with this deal as soon as possible.”

The precinct area includes the properties from the Job Centre Plus up to, but not including, the Co-op store.

It also includes the public open space in front of Fulton Foods and Nobles Amusements.

A council spokesperson said: “Negotiations are still ongoing and are between the owners of the precinct and PEARL.”