AN ‘enterprise village’ built on behalf of Lancashire County Council at a cost of £6m is being placed up for auction - with a guide price of £1.55m.

The announcement is the latest twist in a nine-year saga involving the Rising Bridge business park, which was completed by Lancashire County Developments, one of the authority’s offshoots.

Opposition councillors warned at the time that, with industrial estate vacancies across Rossendale, the venture might struggle.

And for the first 18 months of its existence, the units remained empty - until County Hall moved in its own social services staff.

Today the enterprise park is home to the likes of Safestyle UK and the Fit4Life Health and Fitness Gym.

Paul Thompson, managing director of Newton-le-Willow based auction house Pugh, said two of the units had been sold.

But six out of the seven remaining buildings were let to local businesses, generating annual rental income of £113,000.

Mr Thompson added: “The business park represents an excellent investment prospect and, not surprisingly, it is generating significant interest among potential buyers.

“The development is in an excellent semi-rural and easily accessible location in the Rossendale valley, and the cutting- edge environmental technology used to develop the site means that the units are well above industry standards and generate exceptionally low fuel bills.”

He confirmed that the guide price for the lot, which boasts a total floor space of 20.500 square feet, is £1.55m.

County Cllr Azhar Ali, Labour opposition leader, accepted that the anticipated price tag for the enterprise village was probably a reflection of its current market value.

“It is a sign of the times - things are so difficult for the county council because of government cuts,” said Cllr Ali, who represents the Nelson West division.

“The authority has to sell off some of its assets because of austerity - we have effectively seen 60 pence out of our every pound taken away from us.”

The auction, which also sees the county council’s former young people’s centre in Moor Street, Clayton-le-Moors, placed up for grabs, with a guide price of £80,000, will take place on July 16 at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford. The former Gisburn Road nursery in Barnoldswick, has a similar reserve.