RESIDENTS have written to the council over their fears about a plot of land earmarked for development, which they believe is ‘infected’ by invasive plants.

Plans for 17 new homes on the site of a former day care centre at Tower View in Darwen were approved in February, but residents have voiced concerns about Japanese knotweed they say is growing on the site as digging began earlier this year.

But Blackburn with Darwen Council bosses are 100 per cent certain the vegetation on the site does not include Japanese knotweed, a plant which is notoriously difficult to eliminate.

Resident Nigel Cook said: “The council are aware of the infestation but they seem to be allowing the contractor to continue.

“The property developer is building properties on contaminated land.

“The council are saying the knotweed is on a different site at Marsh House but it’s definitely on this site too.

“We are all looking forward to that land being developed but we are concerned it could affect the new and existing properties.”

Growth and development boss at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Councillor Phil Riley said: “There’s no Japanese knotweed on the Tower View site.

“There are cotoneaster, rhododendron and heraclene balsam and the contractors are going to deal with that in accordance with recommended guidelines.

“There’s Japanese knotweed on the adjacent Marsh House site which came to light during the Ellison Fold Way construction and we’ve started a programme of treating it with chemicals that will take approximately three years. It’s tricky stuff to get rid of and there’s lots of it all over the borough.

“It was first sprayed last year and is due for another spray soon. A letter has been sent to residents letting them know about this and I can categorically say there is no Japanese knotweed on the Tower View site.”