An East Lancashire MP is urging his two local councils to bid for government cash to build homes on previously developed but unused land following a successful application in Burnley.

Tory backbencher Sir Jake Berry is calling on Blackburn with Darwen and Rossendale Councils to apply to the third round of the Brownfield Land Release Fund.

Launched in July 2022, this fund offers up to £180 million of capital funding to unlock local authority owned brownfield lane for homes, rather than greenfield sites.

It aims to open land for 17,600 homes by March 2028 whilst supporting up to 54,000 jobs in the housing and construction sectors across the UK.

Earlier this month Burnley Council was given £416,312 from the second round of the fund to redevelop one of its heritage-listed former office buildings into flats.

The money will be used to redevelop former council-owned offices in Nicholas Street, Burnley.

The town centre building, which has stood empty for years, has been previously been struck by dry rot.

Rossendale and Darwen MP Sir Jake said money from the fund could help bring forward derelict, former industrial sites for housebuilding rather on greenfield land.

Grants from this fund can be used by local authorities for land remediation and small scale infrastructure work to make surplus local authority owned brownfield land ready for housing and stop derelict sites from blighting local communities.

A report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England said brownfield sites in the country could accommodate 1.2 million new homes.

The National Housing Federation said the UK needs to build 340,000 new homes a year to meet demand, meaning if targets were hit all brownfield land would be used up within four years.

Sir Jake said: "With green belt land across Rossendale and Darwen at risk from being concreted over by developers, I am urging both Rossendale Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council apply to the third round of Brownfield Land Release Fund.

“Investment from government could help bring forward derelict sites owned by local councils for new homes so that we can protect our precious countryside and green spaces for future generations.

“It could also help to help fund small infrastructure projects on these sites to ensure we have the local services to meet the needs of new families moving into our area.”

Applications for the third round of the fund are expected to open in December, with the remaining £80 million in grants due to be allocated next year.