AN EYESORE 'gateway' in Hyndburn could be transformed into restaurants, cafes, offies, shops and homes.

Plans for the regeneration of the Church and Oswaldtwistle Gateway have been announced by Hyndburn Council.

Developers hope the project will see new homes, restaurants, cafes, offices and shops being built as part of a major transformation of the canal area around the Commercial Hotel and Hargreaves Warehouse in Blackburn Road, Church.

Enza Property Group, a Chorley-based company, has been contracted to manage the project and Paul Westhead from the firm will host a consultation event with residents next week.

Mr Westhead said he was to present the ideas and concepts for the area, and open a debate amongst the audience on how it should look in the near future.

The event, at 1pm on Wednesday at the nearby Ernest Street Baptist Chapel, will allow residents to have their say on the development proposals for the gateway.

People will be able to look at plans and discuss them with officers from the council.

Artists impressions for the area will be completed later this week.

Several of the buildings that make up the "gateway" are in serious disrepair and in urgent need of remedial work.

Just last month part of the roof of the former Hargreaves Warehouse was blown off in high winds and there were calls for the building to be demolished because it is dangerous.

The derelict 19th Century four-storey stone building, which is Grade II listed, is recorded by Hyndburn Council as a "dangerous structure".

Terrace properties near the site have been bulldozed under the Elevate housing renewal scheme and the council has long hoped to attract multi-million pound investment to create a distinctive area gateway.

Plans were drawn up in 2004 but councillors have struggled to rejuvenate the area as many properties are privately owned.

Council officials said that many of the ownership issues had now been resolved with new private owners of the buildings who were co-operating with the authority and developers.

Hyndburn Council had threatened to take out emergency powers to force the owners of the buildings to make them safe.

Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "The site is a very important one and has so many possibilities.

"Enza Property Group has put forward innovative and exciting proposals that will rejuvenate this important gateway at the junction of Oswaldtwistle, Church and Accrington."

An official timescale for the redevelopment has yet to be decided.