WORK to knock down an 'eyesore' former care home building has finally started.

The demolition of Laneside in Shorrock Lane, Blackburn, brings close to an end a long saga which will see 16 new houses built on the site.

Mill Hill and Moorgate ward's Cllr Damian Talbot said: "I'm delighted."

In April last year the L-shaped former care home building was finally compulsorily purchased by Blackburn with Darwen Council after a long drawn-out legal process.

In February social housing provider Great Places got permission for their plans for 16 modular homes on the Mill Hill site.

Earlier this year work started to clear the internal fixtures and fittings of the 1960s building which had become a magnet for vandalism, fly tipping and anti-social behaviour.

Work was suspended in March because of the coronavirtus lockdown but now contractors with specialist demolition equipment have moved in to knock down the structure and clear the site.

The new affordable houses are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Helen Spencer, Great Places’ director of development, said: “The demolition works started in March, before the lockdown, and have restarted this week in line with the g guidelines.

“Our contractors, RP Tyson, have updated their risk assessments and method statements to ensure the team on site adhere to Government guidance and ensure social distancing.

“Following demolition, the site will be redeveloped to deliver 16 modular homes, which will be made available for affordable rent and will be a mix of two and three-bed houses.

“Despite the delay due to the lockdown we are working towards completion by the end of the year, which is a testament to our team and our partners who have worked together fantastically well in these challenging times.”

Cllr Talbot said: "They have been working internally on the Laneside building for several weeks but began demolition earlier this week. It will make a huge positive impact on the area as it has been a blight for residents for years with people breaking in, vandalism, fires,and anti-social behaviour. I’m delighted to see the demolition work being completed.”

The care home closed in 2000 and after a period as residential flats became empty in 2007.