PROPOSALS for up to 100 new homes, a careers hub and industrial units could be given the green light next week.

The scheme, at Milking Lane in Lower Darwen, is recommended for approval at Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning and highways committee meeting next week.

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.

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 scheme was pushed ahead following a successful bid for grant funding.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership agreed to provide £1.4m for work needed around Milking Lane to help make the development of the site viable.

At the time the funding was announced, borough growth boss Cllr Phil 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.”

He added: “This is about the council taking a proactive approach to bringing an eyesore site which has been empty for a number of years back into use.

“This site has been hugely complicated and very difficult to move on.

“There is a proposal here that brings this ugly site forward for some industrial use and houses.”

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.

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.