THE development of a garden village with hundreds of homes has been hailed as key to a borough's development in coming decades.

Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson said the scaled-back blueprint for the scheme in Huncoat was vital as senior councillors approved a revised timetable for its delivery.

It will see between 1,100 and 1,685 homes built on a former power station site.

The council's Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new schedule for long-delayed completion of the The Huncoat Garden Village Masterplan, due to be ready in June, which will see its finalisation and publication December.

Borough regeneration boss Cllr Loraine Cox said the scheme, reduced from an original target of 2,00 homes, would then be ready for adoption and consultation 'early next year'.

The project has already sparked objections over its impact on roads and schools as well as the survival of a butterfly haven which is home to 21 different varieties.

Cllr Parkinson told the Cabinet meeting: "This is a key project for the future of Hyndburn in the next 20 years.

"The council's key priorities are employment - good quality jobs - and good quality housing.

"We will consult further with residents on this as we have to get it right.

"We must ensure there are schools and a proper highways infrastructure of roads to go with it."