A historic Darwen public house building is to become seven flats.

The former Black Horse in Redearth Road finally closed in July 2022 after temporarily shutting in March 2019 after noise complaints.

The two-storey building, recognised as the location of the earliest Catholic mission in Darwen, was bought by T.P.L.P Ltd which applied to Blackburn with Darwen Council to turn it into seven self-contained apartments.

Now the authority has approved the conversion to meet the emerging demand for one and two-bedroomed flats despite objections from nearby residents.

The objections from neighbours included:

  • parking;
  • potential anti-social issues including drug use;
  • access to rear of neighbouring properties;
  • concerns flats will be transferred to social housing and associated problems if becomes a House in Multiple Occupation; and
  • overdevelopment.

A report recommending approval by planning officer Jamie Edwards says: "The proposal site relates to the former Black Horse Public House positioned on the south-western side of Redearth Road, Darwen.

"The host building which now falls vacant is a semi-detached, two-storey property. It is predominately stone-built.

"Planning permission is sought to convert the existing public house to provide seven self-contained residential flats.

"The council’s strategic housing growth team indicates that there is an emerging increased demand for one and two-bedroom apartments across the borough.

"However, objections were initially raised given the absence of demand evidence at a local level.

"The applicant consulted with a local estate agent in relation to the local demand, in which it was confirmed there is pressure to deliver such accommodation within Darwen and further adds they have a number of prospective tenants to move into properties of the sort proposed.

"Further to the receipt of this extra information the housing manager supports the proposals.

"It is considered that proposed self-contained flats are the most appropriate form of housing given the characteristics of the site and local context.

"There has been difficulty in operating the existing public house from a financial perspective over the last decade or so which was heightened following the Covid pandemic.

"The property was on the market for a period of approximately 18 months in which no successful offers were made.

"A communal garden area and sufficiently sized bin storage area at the rear is to be provided."