THE starting gun for a new 1,500 home development in North-East Blackburn is set to be fired by senior councillors next week.

They will authorise the preparation of a masterplan for the 241 acre site in Brownhill and Roe Lee.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive board meeting on Thursday is recommended to approve the appointment of expert consultant Stantec Inc. to prepare the blueprint for the development.

The North-East Blackburn Strategic Housing Site Masterplan will cover land bounded by the A6119 (Brownhill Drive) to the west and includes land between Belvedere/East Lancs Road to the north, Whalley Old Road to the south, and up to the borough boundary in the east.

In the recently adopted Blackburn with Darwen Local Plan 2021-2037, this 97.52 hectares of land is identified as a strategic site for housing.

The development aims to deliver around 1,500 high-quality homes with a local centre / community hub.

Public consultations will take place as part of the master planning process during 2024, and will continue through the submission of an outline planning application in early 2025.

Development will be spread over several phases with building work expected to start by 2026.

The site is in the ownership of eight different landowners including the council which possesses 45 per cent of the site.

The report to Thursday's meeting also authorises the spending of up to a maximum of £1million of capital funding for the period 2024 to 2027 to prepare the blueprint and planning application.

The cash will initially be diverted from the budget for the currently-stalled scheme for a MediPark between Shadsworth Road and Haslingden Road next to the Royal Blackburn Hospital and then the costs will be shared among the landowners.

The masterplan work will include an infrastructure delivery strategy and design code to ensure that delivery of the first housing units on the site can be realised within five years.

Cllr Quesir Mahmood, Blackburn with Darwen Council's growth boss, said: “Following on from the adoption of our new local plan in recent weeks, this strategic housing site will underpin our balanced growth strategy.

"Successful development of the site, with delivery of the first homes on site within the next five years, will be a key element of delivering the overall housing strategy set out within the new Local Plan.

“Taking a proactive approach to moving this site forward, we’ve appointed a contractor to develop a combined masterplan, design code and infrastructure delivery plan, with a view to being in a position to submit an outline planning application in 2025.”

His Conservative counterpart Cllr Paul Marrow said: "I think this masterplan needs seriously looking at because of it impact on traffic.

"It needs to ensure there is sufficient infrastructure in terms of the roads, school places and GP surgeries that this size of housing development needs.

"These are important considerations for the masterplan."

The report to the executive board says: "The North East Blackburn Strategic Housing Site allocation is identified as one of the six key ideas in the new Local Plan, forming a central part of the overall housing strategy.

"The scale and location of the strategic urban extension enables provision of high-quality homes to be brought forward, to significantly help diversify the local housing offer, and support development of a new sustainable community."