PLANS to turn the former Sappi Paper Mill into a 500 home housing estate were approved by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning committee.

The 26.8 hectare site in Preston Old Road has been vacant for several years and but now HOW Planning has secured approval for a large development combining residential and employment space.


Richard Barton, of HOW Planning, said the proposed plans would bring new life back into the empty site.

He said: “The vision for this scheme is to deliver a sustainable development on what is a vacant and under-used brownfield site.

“ Approval of the application ensures our clients can help realise its full potential, by bringing it back into beneficial use through new homes and investment to the area.”

However, members of Livesey Parish Council felt that the development should not go ahead due to congestion and the strain on infrastructure and utilities.

On behalf of the parish council, Rory Needham said: “The issue of congestion has not been addressed to the satisfaction of residents in the area. The extra cars would exacerbate the problem that currently exists at peak times on Livesey Branch Road.

“The increase in developments such as this scheme will also saturate the area putting added strains on infrastructure and utilities. These problems have again not been addressed by the borough.”

Some residents also expressed concern over the affect on wildlife, devaluation of property and noise levels.

The paper mill in Feniscowles closed in 2008 and was demolished in the summer of 2012.

The plans state that there will be approximately 42 homes per hectare with a mixture of two, three and four bedroom properties that will be both semi-detached and terraced.

Blackburn Waterside Regeneration Ltd is also seeking to erect a community building and an employment park.

There will be a new access highway called Stanworth Park Road, linking Livesey Branch Road and Moulden Brow, and improved access to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Raddlesworth River.