Plans to use the site of the ‘dilapidated’ Beehive Mill in Moor Lane, Darwen, as the construction compound for a major housing development will condemn nearby residents to four years of traffic 'hell', senior councillors have been warned.

On Thursday night, Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive board approved plans to buy the land to build new affordable homes suitable for the elderly and families with disabled young people.

It also rubber stamped its use by Countryside Homes as a site compound for its 477 property Holden Fold housing estate for four years, with an option to extend the lease by one additional year.

But Conservative group leader Cllr John Slater, who has previously complained local roads were unfit to cope with the increase in traffic from the development, told the meeting he was deeply concerned by the interim use.

Beehive Mill is currently occupied by a small furniture business which will move after the owner of the property, Oriental Developments, sells the site with vacant possession to the council.

In the long run it will be redeveloped as 'much needed' specialist housing, such as adapted homes for older people or for disabled young people and their families, managed by a registered provider.

The site is on the footprint of the former Darwen Moorland High School.

Blackburn South and Lower Darwen ward's Cllr Slater told the meeting he was worried about the effect of the site compound use on Holden Fold Road and surrounding streets.

He said: "I am deeply concerned about the impact this is going to have on local residents for four years.

"It is just not fair of you to make the lives of these people absolute hell."

Borough growth boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood told him care would be taken to minimise the impact of any traffic, and pointed out the site was already in use as a factory with the accompanying vehicle movements.

He said the long term plan to use it as specialist affordable social housing for families with extremely disabled children would make their lives much better.

Council leader Cllr Phil Riley said: "I am really excited about this specialist housing.

"It is going to be transformative for these families. It is a really good piece of work."

After it has finished with the compound Countryside Homes will demolish the existing buildings and clear the site.