WORK starts next month on the final stage of a major regeneration scheme in Nelson.

The area around the iconic former presbytery site in Whitefield is being redeveloped, and the council has now reached an agreement with Great Places Housing Group for part of the site.

The housing group will buy 18 Victorian terrace homes in Mosley Street and Macleod Street following their refurbishment by the cou- ncil’s development arm PEARL.

Those properties will be offered as affordable housing for residents, while PEARL and Barnfield Construction are also building 14 new homes for rent and shared ownership around the former presbytery.

Council leader Joe Cooney said: “The agreement is designed to tackle the blight of empty houses, turning them into attractive and affordable heritage homes.

"We’re putting the last piece of the jigsaw in place to transform the area around the former presbytery and provide much needed affordable homes to rent.”

Matthew Harrison, chief executive of Great Places, said: “We’re excited to be part of Whitefield’s regeneration programme. We look forward to working with PEARL and Barnfield to provide much-needed family homes for the local community.

"We already have a vested interest in the area, managing 800 homes.”

The presbytery was demolished before Christmas and work has now started on the demolition of six derelict houses on Mosley Street to prepare the site.

Tim Webber, managing director of Barnfield and a leading member of PEARL, said: “As a Pendle developer, we’re proud to be playing a big part in the transformation of this area of Nelson.”

Coun Nadeem Ahmed said: “We’ve made a commitment to complete the homes and an attractive open space by the end of the year. With the new primary school, Whitefield will be an ideal place to bring up a family.”