Great Britain

Lower Darwen Paper Mill cash jigsaw complete

THE final piece of the financial jigsaw needed to go ahead with a 100 new homes, a careers hub and light industrial units has been put in place.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s growth boss Cllr Phil Riley has authorised the sign-off of guarantees covering a £1.4million grant from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to build the link road required for the development.

The highway between Milking Lane to Greenbank Terrace is vital to the viability of the scheme on the site of the former Lower Darwen Paper Mill near Junction 4 of the M65.

The project is being developed by Barnfield Blackburn Ltd, a joint venture between the borough council and Barnfield Construction, which will provide the other £250,000 of the £1.65m needed to build the road, a new roundabout, access improvements and a new flood relief scheme. Work is due to start in August with a completion date of March next year. The development was given planning permission in February.

The Milking Lane site has a chequered history of stalled developments and incidents of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and trespassing. The joint venture bought the land in 2018.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss, said: “This is the final piece of the financial jigsaw to develop this ugly site."

Tracy Clavell-Bate, head of development for Barnfield Construction said:“Construction of the link road will improve the transport network in the area, reduce congestion, regenerate a brownfield site, and also open up the site for the development of a mix of uses, to create job opportunities and high quality homes.

“Interest in the site has been positive with a number of East Lancashire businesses enquiring about our proposals.”

Blackburn South and Lower Darwen's Cllr John Slater said: "This is great news. We have been campaigning for this road since 2004."

Darwen MP Jake Berry said: “Lower Darwen is a lovely place to live but one of the main frustrations that residents share with me is the problem with traffic congestion, particularly around Milking Lane and Lower Darwen Primary School.

"I’m delighted to see plans are about to be signed off, work should be starting soon and I look forward to seeing the new road opening early next year."

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