BOROUGH planners could approve industrial development on a site earmarked for housing.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning and highways committee will next week consider an application for five new workshop and storage units at Roe Lee Business Park off Whalley New Road in Blackburn.

The application site is within the Roe Lee Master Plan area in an area allocated for housing development and the proposals are therefore considered to be a departure from the development plan.

But a report to go before the committee recommends that the scheme be approved.

The council’s growth team have advised that since the plan preparation time, the owners of the site have put significant investment in to the mill and no longer wish to sell the site.

The site is therefore no longer available for housing development.

Council bosses say the area is considered to have an industrial nature with the site being suitably located next to similar uses within the mill site.

Case officer Claire Booth: "At the time of the Local Plan adoption, the intention was for the whole Roe Lee development site allocation to be released for housing at some point over the plan period as the then owners of the mill had held discussions with

the council about allocating the site for housing.

"The Roe Lee Masterplan reflected this position.

"However, as can be the case with sites, the position on this particular area of the allocation has since changed and the Roe Lee New Mill site, to which this site forms part, is functioning as a thriving commercial hub.

"The owners of the mill now wish to expand their business and as such it is no longer available for housing and the council’s growth and strategic planning teams have advised that the allocation on this site should not prevent the local planning authority from supporting this proposal as it is considered that the proposals would not jeopardise the wider housing allocation."

The application seeks permission for five portal frame units on the land between the east side of Roe Lee New Mill and the boundary of the site with the railway line.

The units proposed are for B1 (Business) and B8 (Storage and Distribution) uses.

Access to the units is from the entrance with the historic gatehouse closest to Whalley New Road and the railway line.

Parking is to be to the northern side of the new units.