SENIOR councillors have approved the framework of a deal to transform a semi-derelict former bus depot into a charity and recycling centre.

Under the scheme, up to 10 otherwise homeless people would live at the site under supervision.

Preston-based Recycling Lives wants to lease the Transdev/Lancashire United garage in Manner Sutton Street in Eanam on the edge of Blackburn town.

It has remained empty since the company, which took it over from Ribble Motors, closed it in 2011.

It was bought by Blackburn with Darwen Council — and now the borough’s ruling executive board has approved in principle its sale to the charity which helps marginalised people back into stable, independent living.

Final details of the deal will now be left to the borough’s finance boss Andy Kay and his senior staff.

Recycling Lives is trying to assemble a financial package to make its ambitious plans for Blackburn a reality. The charity’s associated social enterprise would run the site as a recycling centre for items such as metal, scrap cars, tyres, plastics, televisions and redundant household items.

The money raised from selling these items would provide the homeless and others on the margins of society with training, education, work experience and employment.

It will also provide accommodation for up to 10 workers who would otherwise be homeless or sofa-surfing.

A previous report to Cllr Kay said the depot was in a poor and deteriorating condition.

The council bought the garage when Transdev Lancashire United moved all its operations to the former Blackburn Transport depot in Intack. It wanted control of the site to stop a retail development competing with its own plans to regenerate the town centre.

Recycling Lives will have to undertake extensive demolition and repair work and remove an asbestos roof.

A spokesman for Recycling Lives said: “We are pleased at this approval and are looking forward to assembling a funding package for this scheme.”

A previous scheme to use the building as a furniture store by Twin Valley Homes in 2013 was abandoned.