A MULTI-MILLION pound bid to turn 15 derelict sites across East Lancashire’s towns into more than 3,000 new homes is set for the government green light later this year.

Four boroughs are keen to build houses on the ‘brownfield’ land but need Whitehall cash to make them fit for private developers to buy.

Approval would relieve pressure for new homes on ‘Green Belt’ countryside across the area, especially in the Ribble Valley and Rossendale.


In October, Regenerate Pennine Lancashire applied for a share of £200 million of government cash to prepare six sites in Burnley, four in Blackburn with Darwen, one in Pendle and four in Hyndburn for construction firms to move in.

The scheme - which could lead to 1,185 new homes in Hyndburn, 870 in Blackburn with Darwen, 1,073 in Burnley, and 180 in Pendle - is on a shortlist of 29 approved by Chancellor George Osborne last week.

A final decision on the 10 to 20 winners is expected by the end of March with the General Election due on May 7.

Mr Osborne specifically highlighted the Pennine Lancashire project, the biggest of the 29, in advance of a visit to Accrington and Nelson last week, seen at Westminster as a clear sign that he intends to give it the go-ahead.

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry and his Pendle Tory counterpart Andrew Stephenson are both confident the scheme, worth up to £20 million in grants for remediation of contaminated and derelict urban land, will get the go-ahead within weeks.

The ‘ Pennine Lancashire Brownfield Housing Zone’ covers in Hyndburn borough:

• 121 units at Clayton Triangle;

• 116 units at Rishton Canal Side;

• 750 units at Huncoat; and

• 198 units at Junction 7, Clayton-le-Moors.


In Blackburn with Darwen:

• 150 units at Haslingden Road;

• 265 units at Blackamoor Road;

• 335 units at Fishmoor Drive;

• 120 units at Greenbank Terrace, Lower Darwen.


In Burnley borough:

• 200 homes at the former Habergham School;

• 136 at Finsley Mill;

• 200 at the former William Blythes site;

• 250 at the former Baxi Site Padiham;

• 170 in South West Burnley; and

• 117 units at Burnley Wood.

It also includes just one in Pendle of 180 units at Further Clough Head, Nelson.

In August, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles launched the new ‘Brownfield Housing Zones’ scheme promising £200 million to be split between 10 to 20 projects to provide much needed new homes outside London and ‘protect our valued countryside’.

He said: “We want Housing Zones to be areas where we can speed up and simplify the process of house building on brownfield land through locally led partnerships.”

Mr Osborne said: “A key part of our long term economic plan is to build the houses Britain needs so that more families can have the security that comes with home ownership.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce the areas shortlisted to become the first housing zones in England which will help deliver up to 200,000 new homes on brownfield land, 25,000 in the North-West.

“We are doing everything we can to boost housing supply and to make sure people can get a home of their own.

Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones said: “This is a really good proposal for my constituency and East Lancashire as a whole.

“There are some really good sites in Hyndburn included.”

Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “This is an excellent scheme.

“It will mean more homes and more jobs for Burnley and Padiham. Just what we need.

“i shall be pressing ministers for its early final approval.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “I am very pleased this Pennine housing bid has been shortlisted. I am hopeful it will make the final cut.”

Mr Berry, who has followed the process closely, said: “This is an excellent scheme.

“I am confident it will be approved.

“This is money for the remediation of brownfield land prior housing development and will be a major boost to East Lancashire.”

Mr Stephenson said: “I am quietly confident this bid will be given the go-ahead soon.

“It’s a really good bid but personally I would have liked to see more sites in Pendle included.”