CHESHIRE-based Elan Homes has been named as the developer of new homes on a major regeneration site.

The firm's identity was revealed after senior councillors approved the sale of two parcels of land at Milking Lane in Lower Darwen for the building of 76 new homes.

The deal worth several million pounds was signed of by Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive board on Thursday night.

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 council and Barnfield Construction.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership awarded a £1.4million grant towards a link road between Milking Lane and Greenbank Terrace on the site of the former Lower Darwen Paper Mill near Junction 4 of the M65.

Paul Halliwell, managing director for Elan Homes Northern, said: “We are immensely proud to have been selected as the preferred development partner for the residential element of this regeneration scheme.

"Elan is an established regional homebuilder with a proven track record for quality, this will be our first site in the Blackburn area and our third across Lancashire."

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's regeneration boss, told Thursday night's meeting: " This is a housing developer new to the borough which would not have looked at us twice a couple of years ago."

Simon Jones, the borough's growth director, said “Our joint-venture company will shortly be submitting planning applications for three of the commercial plots, which have now secured investment.

"The council looks forward to formally opening the new Millbank Road in August."