COUNCIL investment intended to help bring an eyesore patch of derelict land back into use has been approved.

Plans to build 180 homes on three sections of land, including the site of a former paper mill in Lower Darwen, collapsed in November 2015 after the developers and borough council failed to sign a section 106 agreement over affordable housing.

The site in Milking Lane was formerly home to the Lower Darwen Paper Mill before its demolition and is now relatively undeveloped with the exception of two derelict office buildings which front Greenbank Terrace.

Council bosses say the site is ideally located and will provide much needed employment land for new businesses for local expansion and inward investment in the borough.

They hope the minority investment by the council, which was approved by executive board members, will help ensure the site is developed and that development is accelerated to generate a positive return on investment for the council and directly support growth in jobs and housing.

The focus for the overall site is to develop businesses on the lower ground together with new family housing on the higher ground.

The proposed developer of the site will receive 25 per cent investment from the council.

Borough regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, said: "This is about the council taking a proactive approach to bringing a eyesore site which has been empty for a number of years back into use.

"This site has been hugely complicated and very difficult to move on.

"There is a proposal here that brings this ugly site forward for some industrial use and about 75 houses."

Resources chief, Cllr Andy Kay, added: "Based on feedback over the years about this land, there is demand for something to be done with the site and the only way for this to happen is with our investment.

"If we back out, it won't happen."

Tory group leader, Cllr John Slater, said: "I may have some concerns when it comes to the planning stage but the actual idea behind this, I agree with it.

"This is a short-term investment and it is welcome."

The Milking Lane site in Lower Darwen has attracted negative publicity over the years with a long and chequered site history of stalled development activity and more recently incidents of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and trespass.