A MULTI-million pound land deal is set to bring a major regeneration project nearer to reality.

Senior councillors have been asked to sign of the sale of two parcels of land at Milking Lane in Lower Darwen for the building of 76 new homes.

The deal is crucial to plans to redevelop the area with housing and light industrial units.

The land is owned by Barnfield Blackburn Ltd, a joint venture between the Blackburn with Darwen Council and Brierfield-based Barnfield Construction.

In June last year the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership awarded a £1.4million grant towards a link road between Milking Lane and Greenbank Terrace to make the scheme on the site of the former Lower Darwen Paper Mill near Junction 4 of the M65 viable.

On Thursday Blackburn with Darwen Council's Executive Board is recommended to approve the sale of the two plots of land totalling 8.64 acres to a Cheshire-based housing developer for a sale price understood to run into millions of pounds.

The proposed deal has been welcomed by borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley and Cllr John Slater, leader of the council's Conservative group.

Blackburn with Darwen Council will received a quarter of the proceeds.

An officers' report says: "The intention is to develop the site, with residential to the North-East (off Milking Lane)n and commercial to the west of the site, off Greenbank Terrace.

"The bidder is a high-quality Cheshire based house builder which has not delivered a scheme in the borough before.

"It has delivered a number of high quality schemes in the North-West and is keen to develop more sites in the borough.

"It is proposed that the bid is accepted.

"Residential Parcel One extends to approximately 3.44 acres and is to be accessed off Milking Lane. 45 dwellings, a mix of detached and semi-detached, are proposed.

"Residential Parcel Two extends to approximately 5.2 acres and is to be accessed off the newly constructed Millbank Road. 31 dwellings, a mix of detached and semi-detached, are proposed.

"Construction is anticipated to commence in January 2022 with completion of the development scheduled for late 2024 / early 2025."

Cllr Riley said: "This is good news. The developer has never worked in the borough before and shows that firms are keen to build in Blackburn with Darwen.

"This will bring a long-desired development closer to fruition."

Cllr Slater said: "I am all in favour of this subject to the planning process and consultation. This scheme will be good for the borough."