GROWTH bosses at Blackburn with Darwen Council secured millions in new funding from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

The council’s executive member for growth and development, Cllr Phil Riley, told members the local authority had been successful in bidding for £2.79 million to be used for a health campus and infrastructure near Royal Blackburn Hospital.

And a further £1.4m has been secured for work needed around Milking Lane in Lower Darwen to help make the development of the site viable.

Late last year, the council submitted outline plans for as many as 100 new homes as well as a careers hub and industrial units on land at Milking Lane.

Previous proposals to build 180 homes on three sections of land, including the site of the former paper mill, collapsed in November 2015 after the developers and borough council failed to sign an agreement over affordable housing.

Cllr Riley said: "We believe there was some assistance from the MP for Rossendale and Darwen with bringing in the Milking Lane grant and we are grateful for that support.

Cllr Dave Smith added: "We have been waiting for the Milking Lane road for a long time so that's great news."

The site is now relatively undeveloped with the exception of two derelict office buildings which front Greenbank Terrace.

It was bought as a joint venture between Blackburn with Darwen Council and Barnfield Construction in 2018.

They hope to develop the land near Junction 4 of the M65 as a business park, bringing new jobs to the area, and for housing.

Council bosses say the site is ideally located and will provide much-needed employment land for new businesses for local expansion and inward investment in the borough.

The Milking Lane site has attracted negative publicity over the years with a long and chequered site history of stalled development activity and more recently incidents of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and trespass as reported by residents, businesses and ward councillors.

The site was previously owned by River Street Assets LLP, which collapsed into administration about in 2016.