THE next step has been taken in plans to redevelop the Griffin housing site in Blackburn.

Blackburn with Darwen Council executive board approval to offer the Griffin housing site for development as two separate phases was secured in December 2017.

Now members have approved proposals to grant delegated powers to deputy chief executive Denise Park and regeneration and resources bosses, councillors Phil Riley and Andy Kay, to select a preferred bidder for the development and negotiate terms.

Council bosses say the site is now ready to be offered for development for new housing.

And interested developers have expressed a desire to buy the land, which will be split into two development phases, as one site to develop family housing.

Since 2008 the council has been actively working to buy properties by agreement in the Griffin area.

Executive member for regeneration, Cllr Riley, said: "It's the next stage in a very long saga of trying to get housing on the Griffin site.

"We have done some soft market testing and there is interest from developers.

"We have gone out to tender now and hopefully we can move things on with a developer on board."

Cllr Damian Talbot said: "The whole thing stalled a few years ago and we have been massively frustrated.

"The council has worked really hard on this and it's great to see it moving forward."

Conservative group leader, Cllr John Slater, was supportive of the proposal.

A total of 165 properties had been identified for purchase and clearance through a Neighbourhood Renewal Assessment and the majority have now been purchased and demolished.

Three houses on Hardman Street remain to be bought and the council will continue negotiations to buy these properties by agreement.

If it is unsuccessful a compulsory purchase order could be considered.

A report  before the executive board states: “The Griffin sites have been identified as being suitable for the provision of good-quality family homes.

“Initial estimates show a potential to develop approximately 120-150 new two, three and four-bedroomed family homes.

“Officers in the Growth and Development Team have undertaken extensive assessments of the site to prepare it for development.

“A suite of surveys and studies have been completed for the site along with indicative proposals for housing type and tenure to meet with local aspiration and need," the report adds.

“A number of options have also been assessed to determine the best way of disposing of the site so that the council can influence the pace and quality of housing delivery.

“Soft market testing has resulted in private developers and registered providers showing their interest for the entire site.

“The council has also acquired the Griffin public house which is currently being prepared for demolition with the land to be included in the development site.”

The area in Mill Hill has been earmarked for development since 2010.

Phase One will see more than 80 private homes for sale on the site which used to be East Street, Coleridge Street and Bombay Street. The council is now seeking a developer.

Phase Two around Stansfeld Street and Hancock Street will see a slightly smaller development of rented homes by Together Housing.