A DEVELOPMENT agreement has finally been signed to kickstart the £40m-plus regeneration of west Accrington, Project Phoenix.
Hyndburn Council and Keepmoat Limited have put pen to paper on a deal which will lead to 375 high quality homes been built over the next 10 years.
And Keepmoat has signed up to a long term commitment to working with local builders and suppliers, and to providing training and work opportunities for local people.
Working in conjunction with Regenerate Pennine Lancashire (formerly Elevate), the development is aiming to provide a wide choice of good quality, energy efficient homes in a desirable neighbourhood.
Construction on the first phase of Project Phoenix begins this month and will comprise of 82 two, three and four bedroom houses and bungalows mainly for sale.
Hyndburn council leader Councillor Peter Britcliffe said: "This is a major achievement for the council given the current economic circumstances.
"After a lengthy delay I am delighted that new housing building in west Accrington will start very soon and I am really pleased with Keepmoat’s commitment to supporting local trades and businesses."
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope said: "I’ve been in close contact with Elevate and Max Steinberg, who I think is doing a brilliant job.
"Everybody knows the problems caused by the credit crunch and the recession.
"We are moving forward and it’s been difficult for people in west Accrington, but we can look to the future with some confidence."
He added: "One of the key things whenever we have had discussions is whatever building work takes place it should be sourced locally."
Ian Fletcher, Keepmoat Homes partnerships development manager, said: "Despite the challenging economic conditions arising from the recent housing market downturn, signing this agreement demonstrates Keepmoat’s continued commitment to the rejuvenation of west Accrington."
Max Steinberg, chief executive of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, said: "This is really good news for the west Accrington community: the new development will provide a wider choice of better quality homes, making it a more attractive place to live."