A DEAL has been signed over plans to provide 350 new affordable homes in Blackburn.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has signed a six-month exclusivity deal with Together Housing, which will draw up development proposals to build the homes near Fishmoor Drive working with Countryside Properties.

The deal focuses on four sites around Fishmoor Drive, one of which is owned by Together Housing and three council-owned plots.

All these sites are adjacent to or surrounded by affordable and mixed tenure housing on the Fishmoor Drive and Roman Road estate.

The proposal will be developed by Together Housing and Countryside Properties before going back before the council to be ratified.

Borough regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, and resources chief, Cllr Andy Kay, signed off on the six-month exclusivity period to the proposed developer to allow it to put together an early proposal for the programme.

Cllr Riley said: “We received money from the Government previously to bring this scheme forward and this is evidence that it is being pulled together.

“The reason for the exclusivity agreement is to give Together Housing and their partners time to work up a scheme that is acceptable for everyone.

“There’s lots of land up there and this would be a good use of it.”

At the end of the six months, the council will assess if the sale of the sites to Together Housing will help to deliver strategic objectives such as number of new homes built, job creation and improving the area for the community.

Responsibility for negotiating terms of any land sale will now fall to council deputy chief executive, Denise Park, and director of growth and infrastructure, Ian Richardson.

Final proposals on the proposed programme and potential sale of council land to the developer will be brought for appropriate executive member approval after the end of the exclusivity period.

Hilary Brady, head of development at Together Housing Group, said: “Raising the aspirations of communities is at the heart of what we do, and we are working with Blackburn with Darwen Council on a phased plan for new homes that will provide a boost to the area.

“While it’s too early to comment on the specifics of the plan, we’re envisaging housing options that appeal to many different people and budgets, delivered through development phases over the coming years.”

A report approved by Cllrs Riley and Kay states: “An initial update was presented to the growth and development board in 2017 to outline the emerging interest for the sites.

“Together through the proposed developer will prepare schemes for the sites and submit the necessary planning applications.

“The new developments will be fully funded by the proposed developer and Together who will also be able to secure affordable housing grant as required.

“All new homes developed will be in line with the borough’s need and aspiration for growth.

“New homes will contribute to the medium term financial strategy by way of council tax income and new homes bonus.”

“New developments will bring in additional investment and new jobs to the borough.”