DETAILS of the first development on a retail park opened up by a long-delayed £7million link road have been revealed.

Home Bargains is the first firm bidding to take one of the six plots along the highway linking Blackburn’s £12m ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ to the town centre.

The scale of the proposed development backs town hall bosses’ hopes that the Freckleton Street Link Road, now dubbed Wainwright Way, would attract jobs and businesses when it finally opened in February last year.

The bridge itself opened in 2008 but problems over the demolition of the 18th century Police House in King Street, the purchase of the Blackburn Spiritualist Church and relocation of hundreds of graves delayed the highway scheme.

Borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “We are very pleased that the first development on Wainwright Way is being proposed.

“The road took a long time to come to fruition for a variety of reasons. It was always meant to become an outbreak for the town centre so we are delighted developers are starting to look at the area.

“There are several plots on this parcel of land and this is just the start. It’s good that Home Bargains is having a look at Blackburn.”

If the development goes ahead, it is expected to create 45 full-time and 35 part-time jobs, as well as others during construction.

It is proposed that the store would open between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturdays and 10.30am to 2.30pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application reveals there will be 168 parking spaces on site including 13 disabled spaces and six parent and child spaces.

The statement adds: “A high-quality, comprehensive development is to be brought forward. The objective is to revitalise and uplift the site and to provide local residents with choice and quality of provision as well as creating new full and part-time jobs.

“The fundamental principles behind the development are to create a development of high architectural quality integrated into the existing urban environment.

“We aim to create an attractive and welcoming environment and ensure that external areas and landscaping are attractive, protected, safe, secure and accessible to all.

“The develpment should integrate with the existing pedestrian and public transport routes with clearly identified vehicle and pedestrian entrances, and provide adequate car and cycle parking for all users.

“The proposed development will deliver a number of significant benefits to the local economy and residents of Blackburn.

“The development will result in a new retailer and a significant investment in Blackburn by a proposed business and creation of new jobs available for local people.

“There will be further job creation through construction, maintenance and security, as well as enhancement of retail choice and qualitative retail offer."

“The proposed development will help the promotion of green travel and see re-use of a previously developed site.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board approved the sale of the land to the Eric Wright Group for several housands of pounds last year.

The Preston-based company developed the borough’s £34m Cathedral Quarter, built the new £13m Blackburn Sports and Leisure Centre ahead of schedule and completed the much-delayed £5m bus station after the original contractor was dropped.

The firm proposes to turn the derelict land into a mix of shops, offices, light commercial units and student housing for the nearby Blackburn College by 2020.

When completed, the development will stretch from King Street and Chapel Street down Byrom Street and Freckleton Street towards Perseverance Mill and Canterbury Street.

The developer agreed to buy all six plots and develop them together at its own risk.