A NARROW country lane must be widened before work can begin on building 18 controversial new homes, planners determined.

Detailed plans for a new development off Bury Fold Lane in Darwen were discussed by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning and highways committee.

Outline permission had already been granted for the new estate despite objections from people living nearby and committee members approved reserved matters, clearing the way for development work to begin.

But some committee members said they were sceptical the development would ever come to fruition.

Cllr John Pearson raised concern that the cost of moving the retaining wall and widening the road may prove prohibitive.

Councillors were assured that the work to improve access had to be done before anything else went ahead.

Cllr Roy Davies said: "To be quite honest, getting on the site or anywhere near it is very difficult because the road is atrocious.

"I'm also very concerned about how close the buildings are."

Cllr Jane Oates said: "When we passed the outline application, my main concern was the width of the road and that still needs to be sorted before anything else."on

Cllr Jacqui Slater said: "I know there's nothing we can do about this application but conditions will need to be strictly imposed.

"Any indication that developers are not adhering to the conditions needs to be stamped on.

"That road must be widened before any other work is done."

Principal highway development engineer, Saf Alam, said: "We have had extensive contact with the applicants.

"The road is narrow and needs adapting for traffic and pedestrians.

"We have secured conditions to set the retaining wall back and widen the road.

"I have made it clear to the applicant that these works have to be done before any development begins.

"Rest assured we will work with residents and the applicant to make sure it is harmonious for everyone."

John Dickinson, of Accrington-based architects Intelligent Design Centre, said: "These are very much modern, high quality family homes set in a small cul-de-sac.

"We have designed bespoke houses that will nestle into the landscape quite nicely.

"It's going to be a place where people want to come and live."