PLANS have been drawn up - in the wake of a devastating fire - for 50 new homes at the historic former home of Rossendale United.

Andrew Connolly, owner of the Dark Lane ground, says it would help to repay some of the former Vodkat League club’s debts to the taxman.

United were kicked out of the league during the 2009-10 season because of financial problems and the Newchurch stadium has been a target for vandals for arsonists.

This culminated in a major fire on January 15 which gutted the main stand and took 30 firefighters to bring under control.

Consultants have produced proposals for a mix of terraced and semi-detached properties, with an access road off Staghills Road.

Mr Connolly believes that the package could generate a cash injection for sport in the valley and prevent the ground from becoming a blight on the community.

He has employed Bury-based Maze Planning Solutions to market the housing plans after failing to find a buyer for the club.

Andrew Watt, Maze spokesman, said: “The recent devastating fire was the final straw. It has underlined the need for us to pick up the pace and establish a future for the site as soon as possible.

“We need to build more and better quality homes in our country for the next generation, and those homes need to be of a high environmental standard to help cut carbon emissions.

“The land at Dark Lane is well placed to deliver those objectives. It is situated in an established residential area and could be a great location for new family housing.”

The public consultation exercise will begin with the proposals going on show at Rawtenstall Library from February 22.

An open day is planned at the Dark Lane social club on March 1, from 2pm to 8pm, and the plans can be viewed on line at