RESIDENTS fighting a major housing development on a patch of open land near their homes have accused the local council of being ‘morally bankrupt’ .

The Sunnybower Community Group opposes a scheme for 165 new properties off Whalley Old Road in Blackburn.

It has sent in dozens of objections to Blackburn with Darwen Council planning department and complained to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

On Thursday night group chairman Iain Sykes questioned the borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley on the issue, claiming the scheme was not in the authority’s Growth Programme or needed to meet its government housing targets as the council had previously claimed adding that it was not included in the 215 Local Plan.

He told the council’s executive board: “At least one site in the Growth Programme would violate a Local Plan policy and justifications provided for the Growth Programme are provably misleading or false.

“How can the executive board approve this growth programme without appearing morally bankrupt?”

Cllr Riley said the council had been revising its Local Plan when coronavirus intervened

The Growth Programme was approved with Conservative group leader Cllr John Slater voting against it.