A HUGE housing development is planned for Briercliffe to fund the refurbishment of an historic manor house.

Between 100 and 120 homes could be built on Bend Hill and profits will help pay for the £2million transformation of the derelict 16th Extwistle Hall.

The hall has been empty for over 20 years and is now in a very poor state, having been on English Heritage’s ‘At Risk’ register for around 10 years.

The sale of the houses planned for Bend Hill, on land behind Queen Street Mill, would raise money to pay for the restoration of the Grade II listed building, which could then be sold off.

But concerns have been raised about the traffic congestion that such a large development would create, with vehicle travelling through Harle Syke to reach the development via Granville Street.

Coun Roger Frost, who chairs the parish council and is involved with the Briercliffe Society, said: “Extwistle Hall is a very historic building in Briercliffe but is in a very poor state.

“It has not been lived in for over 20 years and during that time it has fallen into a state of disrepair. It is an Elizabethan Manor House and is a very important and well known building in the parish.

“Around 20 years ago there was talk of plans for a golf course in the area on this land. Developers wanted to make it the ‘Gleneagles of the North’, but in the end if fell through.

“I received a letter about the plans and I have discussed them with the Briercliffe Society and the parish council so far.

“In time residents will be consulted, but I get the feeling that there will be a great deal of concern about the plans. Access to the site at Bend Hill would have to be through Harle Syke which people think is choked back with cars anyway.”

The land at Bend Hill is not green belt, but is classed as rural land on Burnley Borough Council’s local area plan, which could mean there will be restrictions on the development.

Blackburn and Crawshawbooth firm ATC Construction and Design are putting the plans together.

John Schofield, owner of the company, said: “It will be around 100 homes, 120 tops, and it will include town houses, semi detached - quite a good mixture.

“The refurbishment of Extwistle Hall will be a full internal and external refurb, which will cost between £2million and £2.4million.

“At the moment we are in discussions with English Heritage over the plans. I think we are still a few months away from putting an application in.”

Coun Frost said that Extwistle Hall was owned by a property company based in the Isle of Man which also owned around 100 acres of land in and around Briercliffe, including the land at Bend Hill.