Derelict Darwen site transformed into fully-occupied business park

By Tim Aldred

18 Mar 2024

Mill Bank Business Park

Seven units totalling 35,000 sq ft have been built and are now all occupied, marking the completion of phase 2 of the Mill Bank Business Park in Darwen.

The units were built by Barnfield Construction on behalf of Barnfield Blackburn, the joint venture development company between Barnfield Developments and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Construction was completed in November 2023 after £1.4m of funding was secured by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Growth Deal Programme.

The former Lower Darwen Paper Mill site, located on Eccleshill Road just off junction 4 M65, was acquired by Barnfield Blackburn in 2019 and was one of the first of several sites acquired by the development JV.

Tracy Clavell-Bate, head of development and acquisition at Barnfield Group, said: “It is great to see this phase of the project complete. Four out of the seven units were pre-sold off plan without a spade in the ground.

“It is fantastic to see them all with occupiers, it just proves there is confidence in the market place and in the borough.”

Coun Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said: “What a success story this is. We’ve been able to take a long-time derelict site – a real eyesore – and create new jobs, new homes and improved roads in that area too.

“Projects like this are where the council and its joint venture with Barnfield can really make a difference and it was fantastic to visit and hear about the businesses’ plans to grow further."

Pendle Doors Ltd. occupy a 15,000 sq ft unit to support their continued growth.

Ryan Anderson, managing director of Pendle Doors, said: "In 2007 we relocated to a 33,000 sq ft manufacturing facility on Moss Fold Road, Darwen. This was a huge turning point for our business as we acquired CNC technology making Pendle Doors the successful business that it is today.”

“Since then, we have implemented a strategy for continued growth and our additional unit on Mill Bank Business Park will be a huge facilitator of this. We employ 20 staff from the site and we plan to double in size over the next three years.”

Trans-Cool Solutions Ltd. have also taken a 10,000 sq ft unit and from their new base the 15 strong team of specialists refrigerate over 50 home delivery vehicles per week for clients including ASDA and Sainsburys.

Paul Williamson, co-founder and managing director of Trans-Cool, said: “In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, there was unprecedented demand for ASDA's temperature controlled transport fleet and we were working around the clock to refrigerate their vehicles.

“Since then the demand from other retailers has boomed and we have been awarded further contracts. We could not have picked a better location for our business.”

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