COUNCIL officials were accused of greed as outline plans for up to 35 new homes on local authority-owned land were approved.

Conservative member for Livesey and Pleasington, Cllr John Pearson, said the development on shrub land could have been used as an alternative to the Feniscliffe Bank development off Tower Road, where residents fought to try and save green space.

But he said he was told the council wanted to develop both sites because of extra cash they would bring in through council tax and land sales.

Cllr Pearson said: "This is on the edge of my ward and by 2029, my ward will have grown from 3,000 residents to 4,500 and council tax brought in will jump from £3 million per year to £4.5m.

"Feniscliffe Bank residents have been complaining about 30 homes and losing green space when this site was just 400 yards away.

"This council is just full of greed. All this development and you're still not satisfied."

Fellow planning committee member Cllr Jane Oates said bosses had no choice but to develop sites because they had to hit Government targets or face penalties.

She added: "We are having to to make these plans to meet targets and if you're not happy about it, I suggest you write to your Government and let them know."

Committee chairman Cllr Dave Smith said: "The difference between this land and Feniscliffe Bank is that there isn't a derelict building on it."

Cllr Yusuf Jan-Virmani added: "10 years ago no-one wanted to come to Blackburn but the borough has improved and developers want to build here.

"You look at Burnley and Accrington and they are not having the same success we are."

Members voted to approve outline permission and now council bosses will seek to sell the site to developers using an informal tender process.

The site was formerly in use as a cinder all weather pitch, used by St Bede’s RC High School.

It has not, however, been used for this purpose since 1997.

Five objections were lodged against the plans citing concerns about access, impact on schools and road safety.

Borough planner Nick Blackledge said: “The proposal corresponds with the council’s overarching housing growth strategy, as set out in the core strategy and local plan part 2.

“It suitably demonstrates the ability to deliver a high quality development, consistent with the surrounding area.

“It would also make an important contribution towards the council’s housing delivery targets and it will add to the vitality of the local housing market.

“Moreover, development of the site would alleviate instances of anti-social behaviour experienced by the local community, in the form scrambling bikes.

“As an outline application seeking only the principle of residential development, full highways consideration will be applied to a subsequent reserved matters application, with regard to layout, vehicular / pedestrian access / movement, parking and impact on the wider highway network.

“A transport statement and a travel plan will inform a full assessment.

“It should, however, be acknowledged that indicative access options into the site are currently suggested, from the end of Lomond Gardens and off Old Gates Drive.

“Both options are deemed viable and will be further explored at reserved matters stage, together with internal highway layout and provision for off street parking, when a detailed design shall be submitted for assessment.”