A SENIOR councillor and neighbours have heralded moves to clean up four ‘eyesore’ sites across Haslingden.

Council bosses in Rossendale have begun compulsory purchase order proceedings on three empty former homes and one shop as part of a revamp campaign.

Neighbours say two terraced properties in Blackburn Road have been empty for at least 18 to 22 years.

And a third, along a parade of shops opposite the town’s Co-op store, has been home to nothing but pigeons for some time.

The former Haslingden Bookshop, between the Golden Moon and Megabite takeaways in Deardengate, is the fourth target of the town hall’s empty homes strategy.

Deputy mayor Coun Gladys Sandiford, who represents Greenfield ward, said: “The old book shop has been empty for quite some time and we will be glad to see it done up.

“All of the properties are a blight on their neighbourhoods and they can have a knock-on effect on other homes nearby, with damp and dry rot.

“It is a very long process which the council has to carry out to complete these compulsory purchase orders. First they must write at least two letters, asking the owners to repair the properties, before the order is served.”

Individuals in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and St Helens, Merseyside, have been served with the CPO notices for 137 Blackburn Road and 99 Deardengate respectively. The other notices appear to be against unknown parties.

One neighbour of 137 Blackburn Road said: “We have been complaining to the council about this for years.

“There have been squatters living there and all sorts going on. The weeds in the front yard are five feet high.”

People living near to 157 Blackburn Road estimate that the property has been vacant for more than 22 years. Some work appears to have been done to the fourth property, 36 Blackburn Road, with new windows and a door fitted at the rear.

A Rossendale council spokesman confirmed that the CPOs were part of the borough’s empty homes strategy.