PROPOSALS to build 79 houses and flats on ‘eyesore’ moorland site are backed for approval.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning committee on Thursday has been recommended to pass the scheme by BXB Land Solutions Ltd.

The firm wants to redevelop the site of the former Vernon Carus Mill near Hoddlesden village with one, two, and three-bedroomed houses and one and two-bedroomed flats.

It has been vacant since 2003 but will require extensive land works.

The seven-acre site in Johnson New Road was deemed unsuitable for employment uses after it was demolished in 2009 following a fire the year before.

Planning officers have recommended outline approval of the scheme with 45 conditions including surveys and protection measures for badgers, bats and barn owls.

The housing estate includes a new vehicle access from Johnson New Road.

The project has previously been welcomed by Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley who described the site as ‘an eyesore’.

It was given planning approval in 2015 for the building of 87 homes but no development followed and has been vacant ever since and blighted by fly-tipping including a mountain of plastic dumped there in April 2017.

West Pennine ward Conservative Cllr Julie Slater has written to the committee supporting the application saying: “This is amazing news. This is so much needed in the village.

“It will also solve all the illegal fly tipping we have had. This has been ongoing for over 15 years.

“I really hope this goes ahead, with the correct conditions in place and section 106 money used within West Pennine ward for children’s play areas.”

Paul and Janet Greenhalgh of The Stables, Hoddlesden Hall, submitted an objection to the scheme on grounds of concern about traffic.

Sandra Gray, of Browning Street in Hoddlesden, wrote to the committee welcoming the scheme but warning that 79 new homes was too many for the site.

They said: “It must be a development that is safe and takes into consideration the designated conservation area and protects the heritage of the village. Hoddlesden is within a Green Belt area.”

If outline planning approval is granted the details of the new housing estate will be subject to a new reserved matters application at a later date.

The planning application says the new residential buildings will be two and two and a half storeys high.