THERE are calls for action to be taken to clean up a fire-ravaged former plastics recycling site.

Residents living near to the former V10 Polymers site in Paterson Street, Blackburn, say the area is being used as a dumping ground.

They have complained that the waste is attracting rats and now want to see the site cleaned up and turned into a viable scheme for the community.

The site was plagued with four fires in three months during 2017, which led to several homes being evacuated due to the large fires and thick smoke.

And in the early hours of Sunday morning, a derelict van was torched by arsonists outside the site.

Nearby resident Michelle Ayers, who would like to see the site used for a business or for houses, said: “This happened in the early hours of Sunday morning. This van was set on fire.

“Also the area is being used as a dumping ground which is attracting rats and unfair on nearby residents.”

Residents were told that work to clear the site of thousands of tonnes of waste would start in January last year but they are still waiting.

Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said he hoped the site could be cleared soon to make way for a viable residential scheme.

Cllr Riley said: “The new owners have been working their way through the planning process.

“They’re having regular conversations with the planning officials and are looking at putting together a viable scheme for the site.

“In terms of the waste, I understand it’s all been subdivided so it’s much more manageable," Cllr Riley added.

“It is in everyone’s interest for the site to be cleaned and for us to work on a way forward so there there can be a residential scheme on the site.

The company that owns the site Driftdale Ltd, an Isle of Man company owned by Dennis Rogers, has put in plans for housing on the site but they have never materialised.

It took over the site from David Holt, the owner of V10 Polymers Ltd, who was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £10,000 for breaching his environmental permit.

A fire service spokesman said of the van fire: “We sent one fire engine from Blackburn to a derelict van on fire on Swan Street, Blackburn, at 1.54am on Sunday.

“Crews used a hosereel to put out the fire.

“The van was destroyed and the fire is being treated as arson.”