A MAJOR new housing estate including homes reserved for NHS key workers has come a step closer following the appointment of a development partnership.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has chosen Keepmoat Homes and the Progress Housing Group for the 300 property scheme on land opposite the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The estate will have 150 family homes for sale and 150 flats for key workers at the hospital and its Burnley General counterpart.

Now the council and the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which will nominate the residents for the rented key worker homes, have approved the developers for the scheme off Haslingden Road.

Keepmoat will build 150 new two, three and four-bedroomed family homes for sale.

Progress Housing Group plan will deliver around 150 keyworker apartments for use by medical trainees, nurses, specialist staff and junior doctors from the Royal Blackburn and Burnley Hospitals.

Jim Maguire, director of estates and facilities at ELHT, said: "This is a significant and exciting step for the trust. Securing good quality local accommodation for our workforce will help vastly with both recruitment and retention and goes a long way in supporting employees from overseas."

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: "The NHS and its staff have been absolutely central to all our lives since the start of the pandemic and the council is really pleased to be able to bring forward a scheme that will provide good quality apartments for the staff at the hospital to enable them to avoid long travel journeys after days spent helping us all to keep well."

The Keepmoat Homes is to build an ‘Exemplar’ housing scheme with quality public realm and green spaces. Pedestrian linkages will be created to connect the new homes with existing housing areas and the Fishmoor reservoir walkways.

Gareth Roberts, regional managing director at Keepmoat Homes, said: "We’re delighted to be announced as preferred developer for this exciting project. We’re committed to making a significant, positive impact to the local community, delivering real value.

"Our plan is to use modern construction methods and deliver energy efficient and environmentally-friendly homes."

The planning application for the development is set to be submitted by late summer with work due to start early next year.