RESIDENTS trapped by the troubled Project Phoenix could soon be leaving their derelict, crime-blighted neighbourhoods.
Hyndburn Council was forced to put the high-profile regeneration scheme on hold after it was rocked by a funding crisis.
But after months of negotiations to find money to buy the scores of remaining homes in West Accrington, £820,000 has been secured from English Partnerships, a national regeneration company.
Describing the news as "great", Nigel Rix, Hyndburn FIRST regeneration director, said the funds would be immediately released to buy more homes and offer £30,000 relocation grants.
He said: "I can confirm that we are able to begin releasing the funds.
"We can begin to progress with the buying of properties and that is great news for the individual families who have wanted to move out of those properties in the Project Phoenix area.
"Their conditions have become less and less palatable."
Joan Rawstron, 42, of Rutland Street welcomed the funding.
She said: "The neighbourhood has declined around us while we've been waiting for this money. There have been real problems on the street but this is great news.
"I would just urge the council to hurry up and get me out of here."
The funding crisis arose when the North West Development Agency failed to provide a grant of several hundred thousand pounds.
Some lucky residents had already been given relocation grants to move on.
But more than 100 homes remained unpurchased and the homeowners were forced to abandon their plans.
Residents said their streets were becoming crime zones, with vandals firebombing empty houses and thieves stealing roof slates from terrace blocks.
News of the funding was met with caution by 78-year-olds Thomas and Lilian Liggins who have lived in Lonsdale Street for 50 years.
Mr Liggins said: "I will believe it when we get the money because there have been so many problems with Project Phoenix.''
A condition of the new deal sees Hyndburn Council giving English Partnerships a chunk of future profits from the sale of developed land.
Mr Rix said plans for new housing association properties will be unveiled at Thursday's meeting of the West Accrington Residents' Association, which is being held at the Stables in Russia Steet, and begins at 7.30pm.