DETAILED plans for controversial proposals to build new homes on two Blackburn football pitches are recommended for approval

Outline permission was granted for an application to build 75 homes at the Old Blackburnians Football Club’s Memorial Ground, Lammack Road, in 2017.

At the time, Ian Robertson, owner of the nearby Hare and Hounds pub, attended the committee to express concerns about access, road safety and parking if the six acre development goes ahead.

Following that, the landowners, the Old Blackburnians Association (OBA), hoped the planning permission would enable them to complete a deal to sell the land to a developer.

And now a detailed scheme brought forward by developers Miller Homes slashing the number of proposed houses to 55 is due to go before Blackburn with Darwen Council's planning and highways committee next week.

In a report set to be presented at the meeting, borough planning officer Claire Booth said: "At outline stage the indicative illustrative site plans illustrated a maximum of 75 new dwellings to be sited on the site.

"Although the dwellings proposed are larger in size in terms of the number of bedrooms being provided, this is not considered to be harmful as the provision of larger, family housing responds to identified local needs as evidenced in the

council’s strategic housing market assessment and is in line with the council's housing strategy.

"The outline permissions included a S106 agreement that secured a financial contribution towards replacement playing field and pitches and the refurbishment of the changing rooms at Old College Playing Fields

"It also included the reorientation and improvement of the Lammack Juniors pitch immediately adjacent to the development site.

"The outline permission also secured an off-site affordable housing contribution.

"The proposal will deliver a quality housing scheme which will widen the choice of family housing in the borough.

"It supports the borough’s planning strategy for housing growth as set out in the core strategy and Local Plan Part 2.

"The proposal is also satisfactory from a technical point of view, with all issues relative to the assessment having been addressed through the application, or capable of being controlled or mitigated through the recommended planning conditions."

Mr Robertson said his concerns from two years ago remained valid.

He added: "Most of the community here is concerned about the traffic and access. I just think there's an awful lot of houses being built around here and there is not a lot of green space.

"It's a very mixed community. At the entrance to the site, there's a prayer room, a Methodist church and the pub.

"A recreation space would be a much better use of the land and would help foster community spirit."

A Miller Homes spokesman said: “In summary the proposals represent an opportunity to develop a vacant site for much needed new housing that will have significant benefits in relation to environmental, social and economic considerations.

The proposals would make a meaningful contribution to meeting housing need within the local community.

“Indeed, increasing the overall supply of housing improves affordability by redressing supply/demand issues and reduces prices overall thereby allowing more people access to the housing market and enhanced social mobility, which is a positive social benefit.

“ The proposals would also result in the creation of a high-quality living environment which contains a mix of dwellings, generous areas of open space for play and recreation and would support any future community’s health, social and cultural well-being.

“It would also facilitate the creation of jobs within the local labour pool, both during construction and the operational phase.”

As part of the proposed scheme, Miller Homes will demolish the existing clubhouse and the current site will form part of the open space within the development.

Miller Homes says the green space will mean The Hare and Hounds pub will be set away from the development, protecting the amenity of residents.

And the Methodist church will be provided with additional parking and landscaped areas to the rear.

In 2014 the ground was expected to be sold for housing for £2m but the deal fell through.

Part of the outline approval was that the builder will make a financial contribution to creating two new sports pitches next to the at Old College Playing Fields in Pleckgate, one for Blackburn Rovers Ladies.

The club was originally formed by old boys of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in 1920 but then re-formed in 1925, celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2016.