PLANS for housing at a former Darwen school have been approved

The controversial application was approved at Blackburn’s meeting with Darwen Council’s planning and highways committee on Thursday 16 November.

The development on 45 acres of land on the site of the former Darwin Moreland High School was recommended for approval by planning officers ahead of the meeting, and given the go-ahead by the committee.

Ward councilors have previously said local roads are not fit to handle the increase in traffic and there are not enough places for nearby schools.

Councilor Jackie Slater (Blackburn South and Lower Darwen, Conservative) said at the meeting: “We have been proven right again. It’s jam tomorrow.

“If we were responsible, the school extension and health center which receives money for the expansion would be here with this planning application.

“But as always, I let people down. No school, no dentist, no health practices.

“Firstly, you obviously don’t live here. Last week, when the traffic lights were on on Goose House Lane, there was a traffic jam.

“The traffic plans, as always, only work between 10am and 2pm, not in the real world where Darwin residents have to get their children to school and then to work, which is why we object to this planning application.”

Read more: 477 homes planned for Darwen Moreland School are to be approved

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Slater said: “No one is against them building houses if they have the infrastructure. It’s like the road to nowhere.

“We’ve been going on home visits to nursing homes for a month, and at the end I asked each one of them if they wanted to ask me anything.

“Every one of them said the same thing – we can’t get a dentist for the elderly, can you help us?

“We are just against the fact that they are building these houses and not putting any infrastructure in them.”

Committee member Cllr Paul Marrow (Livesey with Pleasington, Conservative) said the intersections of roads leading to the estate were argued at the meeting.

He said: “We argued about evaluating transportation and road intersections.

“We also had concerns about when the interchanges would be built because it is a long-term construction process, we could be looking at nine or 10 years before they are all built.

“We have raised concerns about the three intersections and whether they will all be completed early, or whether they will be streamlined.”

The plans were recommended for approval in accordance with a Section 106 agreement to secure payment of approximately £3,500,000 for additional primary school places in Darwin; Secondary schools and special needs settings throughout the region; Highway improvement works; and sustainable transportation initiatives.

The development, at Holden Fold, will contain 477 homes with public open spaces, landscaping, three ponds, a new car park linked to the Square Meadow Sports Pavilion, additional parking off Knowle Lane, as well as new interchanges off Holden Fold, Moor Lane and Roman Road. .

It will be a mix of detached, semi-detached, two, three and four-bed terraced properties on a site that “will be developed in a way that creates a special sense of place and identity”.

There will be 101 two-bedroom properties, 247 three-bedroom properties and 129 four-bedroom properties.

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