Harle Syke man transforms eyesore land

Harle Syke resident, David Valentine is clearing an overgrown plot of land behind Camp Street and installing raised beds for vegetable growing. G190511/1
Harle Syke resident, David Valentine is clearing an overgrown plot of land behind Camp Street and installing raised beds for vegetable growing. G190511/1

A FRUSTRATED Burnley homeowner has taken it upon himself to clean up an eyesore piece of land before someone is seriously injured.

Mr David Valentine, of Camp Street, Harle Syke, said something had to be done about the land at the top of his street after his eight-year-old son cut his hand on glass and found a sheet of asbestos.

However, despite numerous calls to Burnley Council urging them to get in contact with the landowner, Mr Valentine said he was left with no other option than to clean the mess up himself.

“I started it over Easter and it’s become a bit of a little project really,” he said. “It’s been like that for years and I wanted to try to get it sorted. I’m a little bit disappointed in the council as they could have cleared the land themselves and billed the landowner for it. The council’s Streetscene department has helped me a bit. They managed to get me a 20-tonne skip which I filled with green waste. It was incredible, the amount of stuff that had to be cleared from there and is still there now.

“My little boy has walked into the house with a sheet of asbestos from up there and managed to cut his hand open on a large piece of glass, which meant a trip to casualty. A lot of kids play there and it’s really dangerous. There’s broken glass, nails and even an old shed which looks like it’s about to fall down. It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured. Even if it was fenced off it would help. I just can’t afford to be doing that though.”

Burnley Council has said it is not responsible for fencing off areas but Mr Valentine still feels the land has the potential to be transformed into something for the community.

“There is a lot of potential for the land but the problem is that it’s privately owned. I really don’t see why it cannot be compulsory purchased by the council. It could be a park for all the kids around here or even somewhere for them to kick a ball around. It could even be used as allotments. I’ve put in a few raised planting beds but it really is a crying shame it’s not being put to better use.”

Mr Sean Spencer, Streetscene Services manager for Burnley Council, said: “The gentleman contacted us about the area of private land at the top of Camp Street that had fallen into disrepair. To assist him in clearing this land we provided him with a skip so he could dispose of any waste suitably, and also cleared the asbestos from the site for him.

“This is further example of staff from the council working with residents to assist them where we can in keeping their communities cleaner, greener and safer.”