A NEW home must be found for tiny amphibians before four new industrial units can be constructed on former Michelin factory land in Burnley.

Plans have been drawn up for a new pond on land off Widow Hill Road, as part of a bid by Metro Metals to redevelop a disused plot on the Heasandford industrial estate.

But first special provisions must be made for a colony of greater crested newts which live in the area – with a wetland provided for the protected species.

The applicants have estimated that around 40 new jobs would be created once the industrial units are occupied.

More than 40 years ago the location was earmarked for an extension to the sprawling Michelin factory, borough planners have been told.

The proposals never came to fruition though and, after the tyre giant folded its Burnley factory, the field remained untouched, apart from being used briefly to store cars.

Planning agent John Summers said that the overall redevelopment would provide for a much-improved habitat for wildlife than the current scrubland there.

He added: "The development gives a purposely-constructed habitat for the newts, with the pond edged with aquatic vegetation to assist with breeding and will not contain any fish."

The newts will also be able to forage for food in nearby Hagg Wood, according to the agent, with a pledge that the planned pond will always be filled.

Another natural feature suggested is the installation of a blackthorn fence along the outer fence of the compound, for nesting birds.