Development | Griffin Regeneration Area

The Griffin regeneration area in Blackburn is benefiting from £670,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Land Release Fund, which is managed by the One Public Estate (OPE) programme, to carry out new highways access and land remediation work which will accelerate the release of land for 140 new family homes and help regenerate the local area.

Region: North West, West Midlands
Theme: Housing (in OPE), Land Release Fund (LRF)

The challenge

The Griffin regeneration area had been identified for clearance and redevelopment as part of the Housing Market Renewal programme in 2008. 

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Local Plan demonstrates the need for a five year supply of housing sites, which at present the council doesn’t have. 

This is despite suitable sites being available and in many cases planning permission being in place. Recent years have seen under‐delivery due to challenging viability, especially in the high density areas.

The story

The Griffin area was identified for major intervention under the Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Programme. A number of suitable terraced properties were identified for retention and refurbishment along with some unfit properties identified for clearance.  

The Griffin regeneration site is made up of three distinct parcels with the council having acquired a local public house to create a better access to a large part of the site from the main road leading out from the town centre. This will also help create a prominent new frontage for the planned development.

Thanks to £670,000 of MHCLG Land Release Fund towards the infrastructure and remediation costs, the site has been brought forward much quicker. Development of this site will provide much needed new homes in the locality, regenerate the area and provide an opportunity to diversify the housing offer.

Griffin site phases map

Two phases of development are planned: phase 1 is planned to provide around 90 new market homes for sale and rent along with the new highway accessibility and phase 2 is intended to provide around 50 new homes for affordable rent and shared ownership.

Griffin site prior to clearance photo 1
Griffin site prior to clearance
Griffin site prior to clearance photo 2
Griffin site prior to clearance
Photo of map pf the Griffin site cleared
Griffin site cleared
Griffin housing site development map
Proposed Griffin housing site development

Quote from Denise Park Chief Executive Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
“There was very little developer interest for the site due to the high remediation costs making redevelopment unviable. The clearance site was unlikely to be brought forward in the short term without public sector financial support.
One Public Estate Land Release Fund has been a welcome solution which has provided valuable funding to support infrastructure and land remediation works on the site. This has helped to create viability for the site giving confidence to the council’s preferred developer in bringing forward a much needed scheme of new family homes for rent and sale to the area."

All properties acquired have been demolished. The council has undertaken intrusive site investigations for the land at its own cost, as well as purchasing the public house; this will allow a better frontage for the market housing and improve development times.

Ground Radar Mapping and Drainage surveys have been carried out, which will help refine the scheme layout; further site works are being planned while the planning application is being prepared for submission over the next few months (summer 2019).  

The council will be working with its preferred developer and appointed registered provider to deliver a housing scheme of mixed type and tenure across the whole site. The development is expected to be completed by March 2022.

The outcomes

Hard benefits:

  • Unlock 4 hectares of brownfield land and accelerate the delivery of new homes
  • Delivery of 140 mid-market family homes comprising of 2, 3 and 4 bed houses for market sale, private rent and affordable homes for rent and shared ownership
  • Additional investment to be provided for community benefit project.

Softer benefits

  • Public realm improvements to the area for new and existing residents and an opportunity to diversify the local population by attracting new economically active residents
  • Improved open space and connectivity for local residents who have been surrounded by high density poor quality housing and poor local amenities
  • Complete redevelopment of a regeneration site delayed due to HMR programme ending
  • Contribute to a reduction in anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and nuisance
  • The preferred developer will be working with the community to finalise open space and environment improvements in the area.

For further information please contact our Regional Programme Managers for the North West and West Midlands whose details can be found on the OPE contacts page.