WORK has begun on a controversial road.

Construction began this week on the East Darwen link road, which council bosses say will offer easy access to future housing developments while providing increased accessibility and travel options across Darwen.

The new road, from Marsh House Lane to Ivinson Road, will cut across Baileys Field, a site earmarked for housing, providing residents of the new developments with an alternative to the A666, which is prone to congestion.

However, Darwen Town Council mayor Cllr Roy Davies said it would be ‘road to nowhere'.

He said: “If it served a purpose I would not be against it. This remains an unnecessary road to nowhere that nobody wants.

“If they had got the main road right and got rid of the traffic lights by Ewood Park there would be no need.

“It will just be a rat run for traffic avoiding the A666 and cause unnecessary traffic congestion and noise. There’s just no need for it.”

The proposal for the road and for 350 homes to be built on Bailey’s Field were revealed to the Lancashire Telegraph in March last year.

However, the people who would be affected by the work said they were angry that the work was given the go ahead despite no developers being signed up to build houses in the area.

One resident, who lives in nearby Shelley Grove, said: “The council arranged for John Wilson from the planning department to come to speak to us about the housing plans.

“He said that housing developers Miller Homes had pulled out and weren’t going to be developing the land. There are no houses coming any time soon so it will be a road to nowhere.

“When you see the beauty spot it will spoil and the enormity of the project you think, why on earth would anyone want to do it?”

Borough regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, said: “The grant that is paying for the road is only available until 2019, so the project has to be started by then.

“Bailey’s Field has been earmarked for housing since the 90s.

“I’m delighted that work can finally begin on this important new investment in Darwen.

“This new route not only supports our priorities as a council to provide high quality housing it will provide a boost to the local economy as both businesses and their staff will be better able to access the M65.

“In addition, the improvements to the junctions will improve road safety and help address concerns people have about congestion.”

The road will be a single carriageway with a speed limit of 30mph residential road including footways and cycling paths, and will also be weight limited to 7.5 tonnes.

There will also be junction tables to keep speeds down and landscaping and tree planting for noise reduction.

The £3million scheme is funded by Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. It is being constructed by Eric Wright Civil Engineering and is due to be fully complete by spring 2019.