A NEW housing estate with many homes aimed at NHS key workers is to be built.

The development opposite the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital will include 150 flats for affordable rent by medical staff there and at Burnley General.

The scheme, revealed in Blackburn with Darwen council papers recommending the sale of two parcels of land off Haslingden Road, has been developed with the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust.

It follows Oswaldtwistle’s Priory Rentals lending 50 luxury motorhomes to the Royal Blackburn in March so key medical staff could stay at its on-site car park during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: “We’re really pleased to bring forward this scheme to help NHS staff with homes for affordable rent.

“The events of the last year have shown as never before how vital they are.

“The motorhome village at the hospital underlined how much this was needed.

“The council have worked hard with the hospital trust on this and it is very pleasing to see that work bearing fruit.”

James Maguire, the trust’s estates director, said: “We are really pleased to be working with the council on their aspirations to build accessible and affordable accommodation close to the Royal Blackburn which is ideal for potential students relocating from outside the local area.

“This accommodation will have an extremely positive impact on the trust being able to recruit and retain more high-quality staff. With the trust’s shuttle bus in operation, it is also very handy for people working at our Burnley site.”

A report to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Board on Thursday says: “The Haslingden Road development site in South East Blackburn is well placed to provide vital keyworker homes for use by staff at the Royal Blackburn Hospital alongside providing a number of family homes for market sale.

“A feasibility study supported the development of the site to provide a mix of tenure and type of new homes.

“The site is also seen as an important location to develop keyworker homes for use by medical trainees/staff working at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

“The hospital trust has identified a need for keyworker homes for short-term accommodation (between 12 to 24 months).

“The majority of the key workers will be medical trainees, nurses, specialist staff along with some junior doctors. Most are expected to work at Royal Blackburn, some accommodation will be used for staff working at Burnley General Hospital.”

Cllr John Slater, leader of the council’s Conservative group, said: “This seems for once to be a good housing scheme but I shall need to examine the detail carefully.”

The report says: “A key priority was to ensure that keyworker accommodation should be provided as an early phase of the development.

“The development brief outlined the council’s desire to see a two-phased development. Phase one would include 50 keyworker apartments and 150 family homes for market sale.

“Phase Two, to be commenced around 18 months after the start of phase one, is planned to provide a further 100 keyworker apartments.

“The council has received two bids for the Haslingden Road tender. Both have presented schemes of good quality design.

“Further work is required to enhance either scheme to a level that the council feels will provide an exemplar scheme of housing that is suitable to meet the needs and aspirations of the borough.”