Fury at lack of access to school field

BARRIER: Max Chippendale (10) no longer has access to the Lockyer Avenue playing fields from his garden after a fence was put up
BARRIER: Max Chippendale (10) no longer has access to the Lockyer Avenue playing fields from his garden after a fence was put up

RESIDENTS in a Burnley street have expressed their anger after Lancashire County Council put up a fence blocking their access on to a school playing field.

Council workers began to install the green metal structure around the perimeter of the fields in Lockyer Avenue to stop “unauthorised use” of the land.

But Peter Chippendale, who lives in Padiham Road and whose house backs on to the fields, said residents have enjoyed access to the fields for 20 years.

He said that he and his neighbours were disgusted by the county council’s actions, and said there was no consultation with residents before the scheme went ahead, apart from a letter which arrived after work started.

Mr Chippendale said his 10-year-old son Max and other children in the area regularly use the fields to play football.

He said: “The people who live in the area are tax payers, who fund local councils, so why should we suffer? The residents have many times cleaned up the rubbish left by the school teams on the fields, cans, plastic bottles etc. So we do take pride in the field.

“We have enjoyed access to the fields for more than 20 years, that surely gives us right of access in the eyes of the law.”

Suzy Jeffrey, from the county council’s property group, said work has been halted while discussions over the site take place.

She said: “As a school playing field, this should only be used by local schools or other authorised groups.

“Despite repeated requests, unauthorised use has continued, which has disrupted official use of the field.

“For this reason we decided to fence off the site.

“An administrative error meant letters intended for local houses did not reach the houses prior to contractors starting on site. We have stopped work on site pending discussions.”

» FOLLOW THE BURNLEY EXPRESS ON FACEBOOK