AN application to build 104 new homes on a fire-ravaged mill and industrial estate site should be turned down, a report says.

Chorley-based applicant Blackmores D Ltd has submitted a plan to Rossendale Council seeking permission to build the homes at Grane Road Mill, known locally as Birtwistle’s Mill in Haslingden, which was wrecked in a fire in January 2021.

The developer wants to demolish remaining buildings and open up Swinnel Brook, which is in a covered culvert. Homes would be built on both sides of the brook and a new access created on one side.

Taylor Wimpey gained permission a few months ago for new homes nearby in Helmshore.

The Grane Residents Association (GRASS) opposed the Helmshore scheme and has since been monitoring activities there against Rossendale Council’s planning conditions before any building work can start.

The Grane Road Mill plot is earmarked as land for employment uses, a report to Rossendale’s development control committee states.

Previous attempts to sell it for employment uses have led to 17 enquiries in two years but no offers. The condition and size of the old multi-floor mill and the potential for flooding were cited as concerns for businesses, an estate agency said.

However, Rossendale Council planning and economic development officers have raised objections.

They say the mill is suitable for small business units and the site is an important local employment space.

Concerns have been raised by some neighbours in Haslingden, regarding vehicle access, management of construction dust, noise and disturbance, pedestrian routes and parking.

The report states: “Full planning permission is sought for the demolition of all remaining buildings and the construction of 104 homes comprising of 11 two-bedroom homes, 82 three-bedroom and 11 four-bedroom homes.

“The site previously comprised industrial buildings of varying ages and conditions. Some of the buildings are dilapidated and have been subject to damage and theft. A fire led to the later demolition of Grane Road Mill buildings, leaving only the retaining wall to Grane Road and the blocked bay windows of the former mill’s office, and Holme Spring Mill building. ”

Planning officers are recommending refusal for various reasons including loss of employment space and too many homes proposed for the site.

Councillors will consider the application on Tuesday.