THE site of the former Wellybobs petting farm could become a moorland housing estate.

Applethwaite Homes, who have redeveloped land off Tower Road Blackburn once the Feniscliffe Bank care home, want to build 19 homes on the land in Eccleshill above Darwen.

The firm have applied for planning permission to demolish modern outbuildings around the 17th Century Grade Two listed Davy Field Farmhouse and its nearby barn.

While retaining the original farmstead buildings, the scheme would replace the new structures with 19 homes set back from Roman Road behind a green.

They would be three to four-bedroomed family houses with a courtyard design.

Wellybobs - a family attraction with Alpacas, cattle, reptiles and guinea pigs - closed in November 2017 after seven years in operation.

The plan, on 3.89 acres of previously developed 'Green Belt' land, has been given a qualified welcome by West Pennine ward Cllr Jean Rigby and Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley.

A Design and Access Statement by PWA Planning says: "The proposed development would deliver a range of high-quality, high-specification homes.

"The scheme seeks to provide 19 new high-quality family homes, all three to four-bedroom properties, maintaining the character of the local area

"The designs being submitted for approval will be two storeys in height in line with the surrounding character of the area. There will be single storey garages to accommodate parking for the site.

"The proposed scheme has been designed to reflect the materials and vernacular found within Eccleshill.

"Dwellings within the layout will be constructed of natural stone and slate roofs.

"Prominent dwellings will be located at the end of the road to provide a focal view when entering into the heart of the development.

"The design incorporates ‘courtyards’ to reduce the impact of the development and aims to replicate the rural feel of the location.

"The courtyards will give a sense of ‘place’ to the houses and help form attractive clusters of dwellings.".

Cllr Rigby said: This is an interesting proposals but I will need to consider it carefully to see if this is an appropriate location."

Cllr Riley said: "Applethwaite Homes must be pleased with the Tower Road development, their first in the borough, It is good to see the firm wanting to come back and build in Blackburn with Darwen."

Thye supporting statement adds: "The provision of 19 new dwellings on the site would contribute towards Blackburn with Darwen Council’s overall strategic framework for development in the borough."