A FORMER mill site which has been targeted by firebugs over the years is set to be transformed into 49 homes after council planners gave the scheme the green light.

Provisional plans for two and three-bedroom properties on land off Market Street, where Albert Mill used to stand, were passed by Rossendale Council development control committee, providing developers submit acceptable detailed plans for the work.

The plans have been welcomed by ward councillor and deputy council leader Sean Serridge, who said he is glad there is an intention to renovate the site, which has ‘attracted all sorts of trouble’ over the years.

In August 2010, the derelict mill was torched in an arson attack which ripped through three floors of the building, only a year after Bacup firef-ighter Chris Farrow broke a bone in his back while tackling another major fire at the mill. It was demolished in 2011.

Coun Serridge said: “The com mittee basically said that if the developers come up with a proper, detailed application, they can go ahead and build there.

“I’m pleased that after so many years of attracting vandalism, and all sorts of trouble, there’s now a clear intention to develop it. However, I have a concern about highways and traffic issues.

“I will be working with highways, developers and local res-idents to ensure we have a final application that pleases all parties concerned.”

The proposals for the 3.58 acre site, designed by Manchester-based Halliday Meecham Architects, will have access via Albert Street, off Market Street.

The development will also include landscaping, and water diversion works, due to the nearby River Spodden.

The majority of the site is controlled by Allied Irish Bank, and comprises a series of semi-derelict factory warehouse units.

MJ Newton is project manager on the scheme,.

And Euan Kellie Property Solutions provided town planning advice.

Mr Kellie, director of Euan Kellie Property Solutions, said: “The proposals will make a positive contribution to the town of Whitworth, and will lead to the demolition of the vacant Sunnyside Mill, and Sunnyside Works buildings, which have become the subject of anti-social behaviour in recent years.”