AN EYESORE former care home acting as a magnet for anti-social behaviour can be knocked down to make way for affordable homes.

Borough planners in Blackburn with Darwen have granted permission for the old Laneside care home in Shorrock Lane, which last year was bought by the council under a compulsory purchase order, to be demolished with 16 new homes to be built in its place.

The site has been left empty for more than 10 years and is in serious disrepair. The empty building became a target for vandalism, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.

Great Places aim to provide new-build affordable family accommodation on the site following demolition of the current building

Two letters of objection were received citing concerns about parking issues, road safety, insufficient access for emergency services, loss of green space and increased traffic.

Ward councillor Julie Gunn welcomed the decision to grant permission.

She said: "This is a really positive conclusion to a long on-going campaign that councillors and residents have been fighting.

"Residents had shared their concerns about the future of the building and I am so pleased that they will no longer have to put up with the worry of what might happen to it, or the awful state it was in. 

"Laneside had become an eyesore and a hazard and council officers had gone to great lengths to get the owners to take responsibility over the years.

"This was an additional cost to the council budget in times of such deep cuts so it’s a relief from that perspective too."

Case officer Rebecca Halliwell said: “The building present on site was formerly a care home for the elderly which was built around 1964.

“Following de-commission of the care home, the land and building was sold to a private purchaser in September 2000.

“Between 2000 and 2004 the building was converted into 19 apartments which were each sold to private purchasers. Following some sporadic occupation of a small number of the apartments between 2004 and 2007, the building became empty again and remained empty.

“The council’s empty property team together with Planning Enforcement worked with the owner to bring it back into use but with no success.

“Due to this in 2019 the council bought the site via the compulsory purchase order process.

“As submitted the scheme will be 100 per cent affordable. The 16 dwellings will be constructed by Tyson Construction on behalf of Great Places Housing Association who are a registered provider.

“Following the handover of the completed affordable housing units the registered provider will, in respect of the units, own and manage them and be responsible for their future lettings and maintenance.

“Rent levels for the units will be set at up to 80 per cent of market rent.

“The disposal of the units to a registered provider will ensure that the units remain affordable in perpetuity, unless disposed of under an obligation in respect of right to buy or right to acquire and subject to the mortgages exemptions.”

A Great Places spokesman said: “Great Places have tailored the proposed scheme to meet local demand as outlined by the local authority for the housing needs in the area. The brief included a mixture of small and medium-sized family homes."

Speaking after the order was approved, Cllr Damian Talbot, whose ward Laneside is in, said he was “absolutely over the moon” with the result.

He added: “A number of residents attended the hearing along with myself, which really showed the strength of feeling and the impact of this blight on the local community."