THE second phase of a £15million project aimed at revitalising the derelict Woodnook area of Accrington has been given the go-ahead.

Empty homes developer PlaceFirst gained approval from the council to refurbish another 60 homes in the area at a cost of £4 million.

The empty homes will now be bought from the council and other landlords, with work due to start in the spring.

Deputy council leader and cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Coun Clare Pritchard, said: “Woodnook is the council’s top regeneration priority.

“We are delighted to give consent for the next phase of Woodnook’s regeneration.

“And really appreciate the commitment shown by PlaceFirst and Twin Valley Homes in supporting the council’s plans to make Woodnook a much more desirable place to live.”

Manchester-based PlaceFirst is already developing 71 properties as part of the scheme, which is a joint venture with Twin Valley Homes in partnership with the council. It represents one of the largest private sector-led empty homes renegeration projects in the UK.

PlaceFirst said it will deliver ‘fair value’ energy-efficient homes for sale and to rent. A new public square and community garden will be created, and environmental improvements to Nuttall Street will be made.

David Smith-Milne, founder and managing director of PlaceFirst, said: “PlaceFirst and our joint venture partners at Twin Valley Homes are delighted Hyndburn Council has approved the next phase in Woodnook’s regeneration.

“This project builds on the success of our first phase and is the next step in re-establishing Woodnook as an attractive, vibrant community within a short walk of the town centre.

“These properties will be refurbished to a very high standard and significantly improve the local housing offer through professionally managed rentals and some sales.

“We fully support the council’s Landlord Licensing Scheme. And believe our customer-focused approach will establish Woodnook as a new benchmark in quality private rentals.”