BOROUGH planners approved industrial development on a site once earmarked for housing.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning and highways committee considered 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 recommended 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.

Members followed the report’s recommendation and granted permission.

Committee chairman Cllr Dave Smith said there was a shortage of industrial units and it made sense.

Borough growth and development chief, Cllr Phil Riley, said: “The masterplan was drawn up about three years ago.

“Since then, the site has got new management and has gone from being a place with some doubt about its’ future to a thriving place for business.

“It’s an industrial site so I’m happy to bring this forward.”

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 as the then owners of the mill had held discussions with the council about allocating the site for housing.

“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 the allocation on this site should not prevent the local authority from supporting this proposal.”