PREPARATIONS are underway to begin construction on a new 126-home development in Darwen,

Kier Living is contributing to the wider Ellison Fold Way scheme in Darwen, which will improve transport links across Darwen.

As part of the development, Kier has agreed with Blackburn with Darwen Council to provide more than £300,000 of infrastructure and amenity improvements to benefit both new and existing residents.

This work will include re-routing local drainage to ease long-standing local concerns and the construction of a wearing course to improve the surface of Spring Meadows Road.

A new children’s play area, bus stop and zebra crossing will also be created.

Construction on the development, located to the south of Pole Lane, is due to begin in August 2018, with sales expected to start in February 2019.

Opponents to the Ellison Fold Way scheme said earlier this year the unexpected discovery of mineshafts on the route of the controversial £3.2million link road will make it a ‘highway to disaster'.

They say the scheme through Darwen, aimed at opening up land on Bailey’s Field for the building of 350 homes, will be an ‘expensive white elephant’ because of the risk of mining subsidence from poorly-mapped 19th century pits.

But in its latest update on the scheme, the Eric Wright Group said the new mini roundabout at Pole Lane/Priory Drive has been constructed and is now in operation.

Priorities are changed on Pole Lane and sightlines have been improved through the removal of landscaping, with traffic slowed by carriageway markings and signage.

They say grouting works to historical mine workings are ongoing and commencement of capping is due to progress in agreement with the Coal Authority.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “This will bring much-needed homes to a fantastic location in Darwen as well as bringing improvements in drainage and road surfaces which have been problems for years.

“This is shaping up to be a great development with good transport links, and I am really looking forward to see work start this summer.”

Sue Warwick, regional director for Kier Living, said: “We are committed to bringing forward developments of the highest quality and have been working with Blackburn with Darwen Council to ensure that associated improvement works benefit not just those people moving into the development, but the existing residents of Darwen as well.

“The development offers positive home ownership opportunities for local people in a climate where additional housing supply is desperately needed. It’s ideal for those looking for a more rural setting but with access to amenities, excellent transport links and employment areas”.