SENIOR county councillors have authorised the compulsory purchase of the last tiny parcel of land needed to complete the £40million Pennine Reach public transport and highway scheme.

The authority needs a few square metres of property owned or leased by four separate individuals at the junction of Market Street and Blackburn Road in Church to build a safe pavement for pedestrians.

On Thursday the Lancashire County Council’s cabinet approved starting compulsory purchase of the land because two of the landholders involved had failed to agree for their plots worth a few thousands pounds.

The stand-off echoes a similar dispute between Blackburn with Darwen Council and Tesco over a small parcel of land off Gorse Street on the car park belonging to the chain’s Hill Street store needed to complete its £4.8million Furthergate Link Road part of the scheme to speed buses between the borough and Hyndburn.

That was resolved without a lengthy CPO process and public inquiry which could have take two years. Work starts shortly for completion in the spring.

A new ‘Church Gateway’ roundabout and road layout has already been completed, except for the corner footway.

Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “I am pleased progress is being made on this small but important piece of work.

“However I still have objections to the county council proposal for a new bus lane on Whalley Road in Clayton-le-Moors approaching the Hare and Hounds traffic lights.”

A county council spokesman said: “One of the key elements of the Pennine Reach scheme is the remodelling of the Market Street/Blackburn Road junction in Church to improve traffic flow, reduce delay to buses and improve pedestrian and cycle facilities.

“Most of this work has been completed.

"However there are four small parcels of land in private ownership which the county council has not been able to obtain.

“Part of this land is needed to allow the construction of a fully accessible footway two metres wide”

The land in Clayton-le-Moors for the bus lane and a car park is already in the county council’s ownership.