THE transformation of a skatepark into an Olympic-level sports village has been approved by unanimously councillors.

The redevelopment of Darwen’s Junction 4 Skatepark with top-class training facilities for skateboarders and BMX riders was praised as 'wonderful' and 'terrific'.

The new 'urban sports village' will include a street skate plaza, dirt jump and pump track, and a BMX course.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Planning Committee give it the green light on Thursday night despite two objections from nearby residents

It is one of three early projects which secured a share of a £750,000 government grant from the Darwen Town Deal.

Proposing approval Blackburn South and Lower Darwen Conservative Jacquie Slater said: "It's a wonderful application.

"It's a great asset to Darwen. It will bring people into Darwen."

Cllr Phil Riley, the borough's growth boss, said: "It is one of the first outcomes of the Darwen Town Deal.

"It's a terrific idea. It should be a fantastic asset to young people in the borough."

Committee chairman and Darwen West's Cllr Dave Smith said: "About three years ago I went to visit this site and I thought this vision of a national facility was a bit pie in the sky at the time. It's all coming to fruition which is really exciting to see. It will put this area on the map."

Two other Darwen Town Deal projects - restoring the town’s iconic Jubilee Tower and a new aerodynamic stand and clubhouse for AFC Darwen’s Anchor Ground - have already been given planning permission.