Bulldozers have moved in to demolish a long-running Burnley community centre at the heart of fierce protests.
Demolition men begun tearing down the Burnley Wood Youth and Community Centre earlier today in a move which has taken residents by surprise.
Campaigners had been battling to save the Glebe Street building, which runs activities for dozens of pensioners and children, after plans to flatten it for 117 new homes were given the green light.
Hopes were that the decision could be overturned and win a last-ditch reprieve for the popular centre.
But protest leaders and centre users were stunned when Burnley Council ordered the bulldozers in this morning.
Security fences were erected and machines began tearing down the building.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle branded the move “outrageous”, saying: “This will unleash a whirlwind. All hell will break loose.
“They should have listened to the thousands of people in Burnley Wood who signed petitions to save Glebe Street.”
Sylvia Wilkinson, who is on the Glebe Street committee, added: “I am totally disgusted. How can they do this to the children? They have got nothing now.”
A Burnley Council spokesperson said the demolition of this council-owned building was taking place following on from a series of decisions stretching back over several years to 2007.
“These decisions have been openly and democratically agreed, and have already been well publicised.
“It is part of the major programme of work going on in Burnley Wood to build new family homes and ensure that the neighbourhood is a good place to live into the future.
“As part of this, Burnley Wood continues to benefit from a number of community facilities. The council-owned building Terracefields is a community centre only a few hundred yards from the other building which is being demolished. Terracefields is open for activities by any and all residents and volunteers from Burnley Wood. All are welcome.”