THE site of a pub where comedian Lee Mack grew up is to be finally redeveloped.

A new supported living complex for people with autism is to be built on land once occupied by The Centurion in Higher Croft Road, Blackburn.

The pub was run by Lee's parents when he was a youngster.

In September 2019 Blackburn with Darwen Council planners refused permission to construct 16 one and two-bed dwellings for people in need of additional support by applicants Centurion Blackburn House – an arm of Hilldale Housing Ltd.

It was ruled that there was ‘no identified local need’ for the new specialist unit.

In June 2020 the company came back with a slightly smaller scheme to build 11 one-bed residential units within a secure residential mental health and social care facility.

Hilldale provides housing for people who have learning disabilities or autism, and also provide supported accommodation for people with physical disabilities.

The former pub was knocked down in 2008 after becoming a magnet for vandalism and severely damaged by an arson attack in 2006.

After two sets if amendments, the new plan has been finally approved by borough planners with 24 conditions.

Blackburn South-East ward's Cllr Tony Humphrys said: "I am somewhat surprised by the approval. I still have concerns about this project."

A statement supporting the planning application from Studio KMA says: “The site is ideally located to accommodate a facility of this nature. It is highly accessible yet quite secluded, being virtually hidden from public view thanks to the existing mature trees and vegetation to the site boundaries.

“This level of privacy and screening, enhanced via the inclusion of additional trees and landscaping, would be of great benefit to the future residents of the proposed development and their wellbeing.

“We consider that the loss of the former public house is not sufficient grounds to refuse this application on land use grounds, particularly when it results in the delivery of much-needed housing.

“It will provide high-quality specialist residential accommodation to contribute to the provision of mental health and social care within the local community and the wider borough.

"The existing site currently represents a very low-quality built environment.

"It currently attracts significant anti-social behaviour and has a largely negative visual impact upon its surroundings that will only increase in significance if the site continues to remain unmanaged and undeveloped.

“The scheme will maximise the development potential of this under-used brownfield site.”