A new £6 million Home Bargains store creating more than 70 jobs has been hailed as regenerating a 'blighted' corner of an East Lancashire township.

Councillors queued up to praise the scheme as Hyndburn Council's planning committee approved the national discount chain's new outlet in Heys Lane, Great Harwood, on the site of a former gas storage works.

The development will include a garden centre.

The granting of planning permission for the scheme came on the same day as Freudenberg Sealing Technologies announced the closure of its former Metflex factory in Ramsbottom Way, Great Harwood, with the loss of 74 jobs.

The new Home Bargains will be on an irregularly shaped parcel of land which forms part of a disused gas storage facility and is located close to the junction between Park Road and Heys Lane to the east of Great Harwood town centre.

The use of the site as a storage facility/compound ceased in 2018 with the applicant purchasing the site in June 2021.

On the opposite side of Heys Lane facing the site to the south is an Aldi supermarket.

Hyndburn Council's environment boss Councillor Stewart Eaves told the meeting: "This is good news.

"It really takes up what has been a blighted area for a lot of years."

Altham ward's Cllr Stephen Button said: "I am all in favour of this. It's a problematic piece of land and we were not sure what would go there."

Cllr Heather Anderson, who represents Great Harwood's Overton ward, said: "I think this is a great proposal for Great Harwood. I think it's brilliant."

Local resident Miles Parkinson, who attended the meeting, said: "This is the final piece of the jigsaw for regenerating this part of Great Harwood and it should be welcomed as part of that vision."

Alastair Skelton, Home Bargains' planning agent told the meeting: "This is a really good quality redevelopment scheme.

"The site has suffered from the negative aspects of dereliction for many years."

The store will provide 2,323 square metres of floor space incorporating sales/display areas, storage facilities and staff areas with an open garden centre area of 932 sqm.

Car parking for 150 spaces is proposed, including 22 disabled and parent and child parking spaces

It is estimated the store would provide around 70 to 80 jobs, with 80 per cent of those being flexible/part-time opportunities.

The planning permission with 26 conditions includes a £40,050 financial contribution towards off-site biodiversity enhancement and habitat creation.