Peer calls for millions in help to redevelop brownfield sites

Campaigners at the former Oak Mill site in Colne which they are argue should be used for housing (s)
Campaigners at the former Oak Mill site in Colne which they are argue should be used for housing (s)

A Pendle peer will today call on the government to direct millions to this part of the country to help revitalise derelict former mill sites.

Liberal Democrat peer Tony Greaves, who is also Deputy Leader of Pendle Council, will ask the government to provide councils in areas such as East Lancashire with help to make brownfield sites financially viable for new housing schemes.

Lord Greaves argues that at the moment former industrial sites are quite often not financially viable because of a slow-moving market, the price of property and the cost of preparing sites for redevelopment.

Lord Greaves said: “The government has announced a number of brownfield initiatives which appear add up to around £1.8 billion – not a small sum.

“But so far they seem to be of little use in this part of the world.

“My concern is that in areas like East Lancashire, new housing developments are often not viable financially, and on brownfield sites they are rarely so.

“This is due to the housing market being very sluggish – our house prices are very low compared with the national picture.

“So the cost of land and development plus profit to developers cannot be recouped from sales.

“In the case of housing for rent in either the private or social housing sector the costs of development plus management and maintenance over the years cannot be recouped by rents over that time.”

Lord Greaves is to tell the government that what the area needs is gap funding to fill the hole, which he says so far has not been on offer.

He added: “Pendle Council has set aside £1.5m. for this purpose and we are looking at using this at empty brownfield sites such as Oak Mill in Colne and Brook Shed at Earby.

“But it will simply not be enough for all the sites in Pendle.

“We need government help and we need it now. With a new housing Minister in the Lords I am hoping to get a new mind on the job!”