A GATEWAY site into a town centre is set to be developed with 165 high-quality homes.

A Liverpool architects’ firm has submitted a speculative planning application for the new housing estate on a patch of land to the south of Whalley Old Road in Blackburn.

If approved, a major developer is expected to take over the project to build a mix of detached and semi-detached ‘executive homes’ and affordable properties.

The site in Sunny Bower is on the edge of the North Blackburn Masterplan for housing.

Applicant Cass Associates promises ‘a mix of house types incorporating affordable housing’ which will ‘provide a distinct identity at a point of transition from the open countryside into the built-up area’.

The application has been welcomed by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley and his Conservative group shadow Cllr Paul Marrow.

Cass Associates director Graham Trewhella said: “There is no developer partner at this time. That will come if the outline planning application is approved.

“It will be an interesting development on a major gateway into Blackburn.

“We are proposing a mix of high-quality housing with affordable properties.”

Cllr Riley said: “This is good news which shows there is still a lot of interest in building homes in Blackburn despite the problems caused by coronavirus.

“I would expect the new houses to be mainly executive homes - detached and semi-detached houses with three, four or five bedrooms. The application is particularly welcome as this land - part privately-owned and part council-owned including a long-disused football pitch - is not one of our target areas for housing.”

Cllr Marrow said “I am pleased to see a mix of homes including affordable and that green space will remain within the scheme. We welcome development in the right spot.”

Supporting documents submitted by Cass Associates say: “The site is characterised by dense and scattered scrub.

“The site presents an opportunity to deliver high quality housing in a sustainable location which will act to support the ambitions for growth in Blackburn with Darwen. New housing on site can be delivered without delay and will support construction jobs over a period estimated to be two years. “