A DISUSED children’s play area and bowling green have been earmarked for commercial development.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is set to sell 1.4 acres of open land to become a new factory and pharmaceutical distribution depot.

It is the second time the plot has been sold but the previous deal fell through in 2019.

The land off Burnley Road in Blackburn was previously a children’s play area and bowling green but fell out of use some years ago.

The sale, expected to create 34 full-time jobs, has been authorised by Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley.

In a report to colleagues he says: “Burnley Road Commercial Development Site comprises approximately 1.4 acres of commercial development land.

“The council’s preference is for owner-occupied light industrial use.

“The site was previously marketed in 2019, however, the appointed bidder pulled out of the transaction prior to exchanging contracts. Subsequent remarketing was halted temporarily due to the Covid 19 pandemic

“The successful bidder proposes to submit a planning application upon exchange for 29,000 square feet of light industrial space to be 55 per cent occupied by the bidder and used for manufacturing and 45 per cent to be occupied by a pharmaceutical distributor.

“The proposed construction start date is November 2021 with the two units being ready for occupation in 2022. The council will carry out widening works to Didsbury Street, the cost of which shall be deducted from the gross land receipt. These works are currently in the process of being designed and costed, and are anticipated to cost well within the offered land value.

“As the land has previously been open to the public and historically been used for recreational purposes it is necessary to consider it as ‘open space’.”

Cllr Paul Marrow, cllr Riley’s Conservative group counterpart, said: “We are in favour of commercial and industrial development but several years ago this land was a children’s play area and bowling green.

“As it was formerly a recreation area we do have some concerns about the sale.”

Cllr Riley said: “This land has been derelict for around 10 years.

“It is a good deal for the council. It is a highly-respected local company buying the land partly for its own use and to bring a new company into the borough creating 34 much-needed jobs.”