CONTROVERSIAL plans for dozens of new homes on the site of a former care home could be approved next week.

A report is due to go before Blackburn with Darwen Council's planning and highways committee recommending permission be granted for Applethwaite Homes to build 30 new houses on the site of the old Feniscliffe Bank care home, which would be demolished to make way.

But campaigners upset at the loss of green space they say is used by children and dog walkers still say their concerns have not been listened to.

They had been dismayed earlier this year when outline planning permission was granted for up to 30 homes to be built on the site at Tower Road in Blackburn.

Feniscliffe Bank Residents Association chairman Leigh Keen said: "It is my understanding that the open space being left will be owned by the developer and maintained by a landscape management company at cost to the new homeowners.

"I want to see a planning constraint adding to the planning and highways committee's decision to ensure that the remaining green space is designated public open space.

"The council have throughout the planning process have always led me to believe that they would maintain ownership, control and maintenance of the green space.

"This is clearly not case, and as such the open space needs protecting."

Fellow campaigner Jack Ellison said: "The amount of £1,000 per dwelling Section 106 contributions alleviate the loss of the unallocated open space on the site but does not take into account the loss of of green infrastructure corridor.

"If the number of dwellings is reduced, it would leave enough green infrastructure to be a viable recreational facility especially as a safe play area for children."

In a report to go before the committee, planning officer Nick Blackledge said: "Approval of the application will allow positive progress to be made towards demolition of the redundant building.

"Development on the footprint of this building alone would not provide a viable scheme, prohibiting re-development and allowing the negative impact on the area to grow over time, as the building continues to deteriorate.

"It is, therefore, necessary to advance a high quality development on the whole of the proposed application site.

"Whilst an area of open space will be lost, this concern is robustly mitigated by two actions; the retention of a significant and enhanced area of open space and the provision of a commuted sum of £1,000 per dwelling which will contribute towards enhanced open space and pathway improvements in the area of Pleasington Playing Fields / Witton Park, immediately adjacent to the site."

The planning and highways committee will decide on the application in a meeting at Blackburn town hall on Thursday.