Further details and new image have been released of a ground-breaking multi-million-pound new manufacturing and research centre in Darwen, after it was given planning approval by councillors.

The development, on a five-acre site at Chapels, is set to include an Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Accelerator - the first of its kind in the UK.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning committee on Thursday night voted to approve the plans for the land off Goose House Lane.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Research (AMRC) project – supported by the £100 million Darwen Town Deal - has been brought forward by Barnfield Blackburn Ltd, a joint venture between Barnfield Group and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

The scheme is for the manufacturing research centre and 10 smaller industrial units to create 'a sector cluster'.

Now the joint venture has confirmed discussions are well-advanced with Sheffield University’s AMRC to be the anchor tenant there – housing its first of its kind Additive Manufacturing Accelerator.

Perspex International Ltd, a major employer in the town, is also developing plans to expand its neighbouring Chapels site with a proposed new £30m national manufacturing centre with support from the town deal.

A planning application is expected to be submitted in the coming months.

Chair of the Darwen town deal board, Wayne Wild, said: “We worked incredibly hard to secure the full £25m through the town deal and then use that to unlock more than £100m of new funding for Darwen.

“We want our plans for the town to be truly transformational, including creating opportunities around employment growth and business innovation too.

“The AMRC facility could be the first of its kind for the country – pioneering additive and 3D printing technology and creating opportunities for local businesses to thrive.

“Darwen has a long industrial heritage and so we’re proud to be able to support plans for this new manufacturing and research centre and securing this planning permission is a fantastic step forward.”.

Tracy Clavell-Bate, head of development for the Barnfield Group, said: “This is a prime location for a manufacturing development, and we’re progressing our discussions with the AMRC to be the anchor tenant there.

“It would be the first Additive Manufacturing Accelerator of its kind in the UK, bringing with it a whole host of opportunities for the town. Having an AMRC in Darwen would be a huge coup.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader and deputy chair of the Darwen town deal board, Councillor Phil Riley, added: "Schemes like this unlock new possibilities for Darwen – creating new jobs and supporting existing businesses to grow and new ones to thrive.

“There is a huge sense of momentum here and we’re working really hard to continue to build on that.”