PEOPLE across Burnley have blasted Channel 4 programme-makers after it was revealed the presenters of a show branding Burnley one of the worst places to live in Britain never even visited the town.
The "Location, Location Location 20 Best and Worst Places to Live" programme, screened on Wednesday night, named Burnley as the 19th worst place to live. But while the town was rated a better place to live than Nottingham, Blackpool and Manchester, the claims have been met with anger from community leaders.
Burnley MP Kitty Ussher described the programme as a "tabloidesque, scaremongering piece of journalism" and the leader of Burnley Council called it "a disgrace".
The claims were also opposed by Burnley Football Club, East Lancashire Primary Care Trust, Lancashire County Council, the Elevate project and police, who said crime is down by 10%.
Burnley MP Kitty Ussher praised residents and cited the St Peter's Centre, Elevate and Building Schools for the Future as projects to improve the town's future.
She said: "What is great about Burnley is its people. Never afraid to tell you what they think but rarely rude. Always willing to stop and chat. Friendly, open and honest. Always wanting the best."
Council Leader Coun. Gordon Birtwistle also highlighted the money being invested in the town and said: "As far as I am concerned, it is only those who come up here and meet the people of Burnley that truly have the right to judge the borough. Yes the borough has challenges, but we are meeting up to those challenges."
He went on: "Decades of decline take years to overcome, but we are getting there and are determined to get it right. Our pride is in our people. To me Burnley is the best place to live and it is definitely a place that is on the up."
Former Labour spin-doctor and Clarets fan Alastair Campbell said that although the town faces challenges, it has a lot going for it. "I know people who live there who think that far from being the worst place to live, Burnley ranks among the best, not least because of the people of Burnley and also the fantastic countryside nearby," he said.
Programme host Phil Spencer, who fronts the show with Kirsty Alsopp, said: "Each year we seem to create a storm of controversy with this survey, but it's all based on official data and all we do is tell you the results."
The list was compiled based on environment, lifestyle, health, education, employment and crime figures.