Community in shock after arsonists destroy newly built viewing platform at Burnley beauty spot

A councillor has spoken of her devastation after arsonists destroyed a newly installed viewing platform at  one of Burnley's top beauty spots just weeks after it was installed.

Saturday, 13th April 2019, 1:47 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th April 2019, 2:54 pm
The scene this morning at the wrecked viewing platform

Coun. Anne Kelly said the community was still in shock after the blaze last night at Briercliffe recreational park.

She said: "To watch the platform go up in flames last night was heartbreaking.

"So many people have worked hard to make this happen and it has just been destroyed by vandals, it is devastating.

"Work was only completed in March and people had started to use the platform so for this to happen is just terrible."

Fire crews were called to the scene of the blaze close to Queen Street Mill at around 7pm last night.

They spent a couple of hours on site extinguishing the flames which destroyed the wooden purpose built platform that was erected for walkers to enjoy breathtaking views of the Thursday Valley.Coun. Kelly praised firefighters for working to bring the blaze under control in difficult conditions adding: "The fire was around a quarter of a mile from the road and it was pitch black so they did a great job."

The platform was built as part of a project to improve the area over the past two years and part of the work has included a new pathway around the woods that is both pram and disabled friendly.

The project has been spearheaded by Briercliffe Parish Council and around £30,000 was secured for it including £24,000 from the Lancashire Environmental Fund, £3,000 from Burnley Council and a contribution from the parish council.

Coun. Kelly said: "I played here as a child and so did my children, it is a beautiful part of the town and the work was done for more people to enjoy and appreciate it.

"I don't know what is going to happen from here as the money for the project was all grant money.

"It is just a terrible shame and I hope whoever is responsible is caught by the police."

Police have launched an appeal for witnesses to the incident and are keen to hear from anyone who may have been in the area and seen or heard anything suspicious.

Anyone with information should contact PC Healey on [email protected] or phone police on 101 quoting incident number LC-20190412-1593