THE final preparations the long-awaited transformation of derelict land in Blackburn into new houses are being completed for a start on building work later this year.

Bolton construction firm Seddon Partnerships hope to complete the 56 new affordable homes in phase one of The Griffin regeneration scheme in Mill Hill and the town centre by summer next year.

The properties for rent and shared ownership will be being built for Great Places Housing Association.

Blackburn with Darwen Council expects planning applications for the remaining stages of the regeneration of the former Griffin estate straddling Mill Hill and Bank Top wards to be submitted later this year.

They will provide an additional 85 family homes with building work scheduled to start in 2021.

Planning permission for Great Places phase one scheme was granted in February.

The site formerly housed the Griffin pub, which was knocked down in 2018 as part of clearance work.

The regeneration plan was first mooted more than a decade ago but stalled when the government scrapped the market housing renewal scheme.

The scheme was also delayed for seven years by the refusal of two home owners to sell the final properties needed for the scheme in Mill Hill.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's development boss, said: “This is one step closer to bringing the first part of this fantastic development to the Stansfield Street area.

"It will completely revitalise the area and provide some long-needed, high quality yet affordable homes.

"We have worked long and hard on this for years and I can’t wait to see the first houses start to go up.”

Cllr Zamir Khan, who represents Blackburn Central ward, said: "I am delighted and over the moon.

"It is about time we got this eyesore site redeveloped.

"There has been a real problem with people dumping rubbish there.

"It's been a long time coming but it should be worth it."

Mill Hill and Moorgate ward's Cllr Damian Talbot said: "I’m delighted that the scheme is going ahead.

"The council has worked hard for several years to pull this together after Government funding was cut.

"This will massively improve the local area."