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Final approval of site plan next to M65 making visitors cringe

By March 22, 2022Site plan

The approval of the latest piece in a multi-million pound flagship development of an awful site was greeted as a moment of ‘joy’.

And a Tory senior adviser has said fans outside coming to watch Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park will no longer “squeal” as they pass the abandoned Lower Darwen paper mill site.

The comments came as the Blackburn with Darwen Council planning committee approved the fourth employment unit on Millbank Business Park. This is the final part of the mixed-use regeneration of land between Greenbank Terrace and Milking Lane, formerly occupied by the Lower Darwen Paper Mill, to come before councillors.

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Work has already started on the commercial part of the scheme with Cheshire-based Elan Homes securing full planning permission to build 76 properties on the residential element. The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has awarded a £1.4million grant for the new link road between Milking Lane and Greenbank Terrace, crucial to the project,

The permitted planning application came from Barnfield Blackburn Ltd, the joint venture between Barnfield Developments and Blackburn with Darwen Council set up to develop the site just off Junction 4 of the M65 which had been vacant and an eyesore for several years.

The abandoned site of the Lower Darwen Paper Mill

Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “It was put together happily. It was a horror for a very, very long time. We have Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry to thank for getting the money for the link road. This good project will transform the neighborhood.

Blackburn South and Lower Darwen Curator Cllr Jacquie Slater said: ‘I used to cringe every time I walked past the site on a key gateway to Blackburn.

“Away fans going to Rovers must also have backed off. It was horrible. Now we and they won’t have to back down.

Committee chairman Cllr Dave Smith said: “This is a good project on a key gateway to the city. This is the final piece of the site’s puzzle.

The business unit unanimously approved at Thursday night’s meeting will be the largest of four on the site, comprising 35,000 square feet of internal floor space.