REJUVENATION work on a neglected piece of land will continue, even though a developer is interested in using the site for a £22million leisure complex.

Blackburn with Darwen Council says it will continue with a consultation period to find out how residents would like to see Robin Bank, by the River Darwen, used.

The council secured funding earlier this year, firstly to investigate which parts of the land could be used for developments or landscaping, and then to carry out rejuvenation work.

After the consultation, which ends after the summer, the council will finalise its plans for the seven-acre former gas-works site between Union Street and Heys Lane.

If a planning application is received from Ted Ward, developer and chairman of Darwen Football Club, for a new sports facility which would include a new football stadium and hotel, council plans for the area involved will be frozen.

But as it stands, the council is proceeding with the consultation period for the whole site.

The council, which has already carried out decon-tamination works on the land, secured funds under the Reclamation and Management of Derelict Land (REMADE) project to clean up the seven acres of neglected land.

REMADE was set up by Lancashire County Coun-cil in partnership with the North West Development Agency.

Adam Scott, strategic director of regeneration for Blackburn with Darwen, said: "The first phase of the REMADE funding is currently finalising ground condit-ion surveys which will determine those parts of Robin Bank and the riverside only suitable for a "green afteruse" and will define those areas where development is a realistic proposition.

"The second phase of the scheme involves designing and implementing a landscape scheme for the long-term open space of the riverside and bank from Union Street to Heys Lane.

"Any part of the site that is required for development in the near future would be excluded from the REMADE proposal and the overall scheme accordingly.

"The important thing is to ensure that the riverside open space benefits neighbouring communities, complements surrounding uses and promotes future develop-ment in the town centre.

"Consultation will be ongoing through the summer."