Threat of closure hangs over Burnley children's play area

Protesters gather at Jessie's Park
Protesters gather at Jessie's Park

Parents and residents living to a children's play area, named in honour of an elderly campaigner, fear it could be closed by Burnley Borough Council.

'Jessie's Park', near to Sefton Avenue in the Piccadilly area of Burnley, was opened in 1997, thanks to the efforts of the late Jessie Pedlow who gathered residents together to transform the back walls of the yards of nearby homes by painting colourful murals.

However, a planned play facility review by Burnley Council has led to concerns that Jessie's Park could be closed.

Residents have now organised a petition to save the community play area, which has been hit by the scourge of fly-tipping in recent years.

Trinity ward Green Party Coun. Andy Fewings said: "This is a well used park for families in the immediate area. It is absolutely outrageous that a play area residents fought hard for, and even helped to build, is being taken away from them.

"This park is specifically for younger children - a safe, infant friendly space away from older children. The Sure Start Centre closed, now this park is closing. The free provision for children in the Early Years has all but disappeared in this area. In times of rapidly declining youth mental health, we ought to be investing in their leisure spaces not taking them away.

"This is disrespectful to Jessie's memory and the hard work she put in to secure this park."

Burnley Council told the Express it has not made a final decision on any of the play areas in the borough being reviewed.

A council spokesman said: "We will be carrying out a review of our play strategy, which sets out future plans for all our play facilities across the borough including Jessie's Park, in the spring of next year.

"We will take on board the views of residents as part of that review. In the meantime Jessie's Park will remain open and in use. However, it would be very helpful if local residents, who obviously care about the play area, can help us to keep it free of litter and fly tipping."