Cash appeal to develop derelict mill sites

A leading East Lancashire peer has called 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, asked 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.

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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.

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“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 told the government the area needs gap funding to fill the hole which, he says, so far has not been on offer.

“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!”