Youths’ fire protest as shelter removed from Burnley park

Rakehead recreation ground where youths started a fire (s)
Rakehead recreation ground where youths started a fire (s)

THIS is the moment teenagers started a fire in protest at council bosses’ removal of a youth shelter from a Burnley park.

Residents had complained of youths congregating in the shelter on Rakehead Recreation Ground to drink alcohol and anti-social behaviour.

This week the shelter was removed at the request of police prompting the youths to set fire to residents’ wheelie bins.

One resident, who welcomed the shelter’s removal, said: “I do not want to sound against the facilities at Rakehead Recreation Ground as they are used a lot through the day by good people and appreciated but in the late evening they attract a number of undesirables.”

Mr Simon Goff, the council’s head of green spaces and amenities, said: “The youth shelter was provided on Rakehead Recreation Ground as part of a wider development that included provision of two floodlit ball courts and a new children’s play area.

“The need for a shelter was first discussed with local residents and the police in 2006 during consultation meetings. The police and residents who attended supported the location of a youth shelter close to the ball court to reduce the problem of youths congregating on the children’s play area and damaging the play equipment.

“Funding for the shelter was obtained from Lancashire County Council’s Youth Fund.

“The shelter has now been removed following complaints from the police who advised that the shelter is being predominantly used by youths acting in an anti-social manner such as drinking alcohol, and setting fire to wheeled bins and park equipment.”