A new government ‘housing zone’ in Hyndburn could trigger tens of millions of pounds worth of new development, it’s been claimed.

Council bosses hope that up to 2,000 new homes could eventually be built as part of a ‘garden village’ development in Huncoat.

The Government has granted special status to the village - which is seen of strategic importance, with the former colliery and power station earmarked as potential sites.

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The housing zone scheme could allow Hyndburn council and property developers priority access to £18m in funding and could lead to the creation of new schools, doctors surgeries, public open spaces and transport infrastructure upgrades.

A detailed masterplan will now be drawn up in consultation with local residents and businesses, and planning applications could be submitted as early as next year.

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said the next key step is to secure funding for essential masterplanning works.

He told the recent Cabinet meeting: “This is fantastic news for Hyndburn with potential for huge housing growth of between 800 and 2,000 homes in the Huncoat area, subject to a masterplan. Housing zone status gives the council and house builders access to government funding and helps accelerate much-needed new house building in the borough, which is currently behind growth requirements.

“There are always concerns whenever any major planning comes forward, but this is about putting a masterplan together for the long-term and not having piecemeal development on sites.

"It’s important for the expansion of the borough to make sure we have the right housing for future generations. It will also utilise a lot of brownfield land which has not been looked at seriously since the power station site was knocked down.”

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Earlier this month the Government announced the first of 14 proposed garden village sites across the UK.

Huncoat councillor Eamonn Higgins said it is ‘very exciting’ for the area.

He added: “We want to attract people to live in Hyndburn, and Huncoat is an ideal location. It’s a lovely village and very accessible to the major motorway networks. The power station site has been derelict for over 25 years and it’s about time it was utilised.”

Housing zones are part of a £3 billion national government drive to ‘turbo-charge house building’ on large brownfield sites.

The scheme in Huncoat, part of a wider Pennine-Lancashire Housing Zone, is one of six new zone developments planned across the country.

Hyndburn council said Huncoat village and the surrounding area contains ‘strategic housing and employment land’ which will provide a ‘major opportunity for meeting the borough’s future housing needs and economic growth’.

The village is also subject to an Expression of Interest to Government to become part of the their Garden Village programme. Last month Hyndburn council submitted a £374,000 bid to the Government’s ‘larger sites and housing zones capacity fund’ to cover technical studies and project management costs.

Bosses said this is ‘essential to accelerating growth in Huncoat’ and will help create a ‘detailed masterplan vision’ for the area. Sites within the Huncoat Housing Zone include brownfield land and some greenfield land designated for housing and employment in the council’s core strategy.