A four-year-old planning fight over Hill Top could finally be over.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) bosses have abandoned controversial extra care housing redevelopment plans and instead will look to sell the former nursing home site.
Developers ICare, with LCC backing, applied to build 36 care apartments in Conservation Area land in Baxenden.
More than 200 people objected and the application was thrown out by Hyndburn Council in March, only for ICare to appeal. The appeal is still open for public consultation.
But LCC chiefs have revealed the site is now “surplus to requirements” - and they are also not looking to fund the demolition of the existing building.
Tony Pounder, head of commissioning for adult and community services, said: “Lancashire County Council had hoped to be able to develop an extra care housing scheme on the Hill Top site, but it's now clear that such a scheme would not be of a viable size for us to support.”
ICare first began consulting on the Manchester Road site back in 2007.
An earlier planning application was withdrawn in 2010.
But Philip Helm, ICare's operations director, said the development could still go ahead. He added: “The support ICare has had from LCC has been exceptional bearing in mind the length of time it has taken to reach this position, but as with all public bodies, the county council are having to make difficult spending decisions in response to reducing budgets and as such cannot justify continuing to retain the option to use the Hill Top site for an extra care development.
“Depending on the outcome of the appeal and the price that LCC are looking to achieve from the sale of the site, ICare may then choose to purchase the site in order to deliver the extra care development.”
Christ Church Conservation Area Association, which has 85 members, has been campaigning against the redevelopment. Secretary Ann McEvoy welcomed “very good” news. She said: “I think the view of the residents is that, considering what they wanted to do here, we would rather live with what we have got.
“But we would still like to know where ICare stand and what the position is with regard to the appeal that has been lodged.”