Latest bid to save Burnley community centre fails

Families appealing for Glebe Street Community Centre to be left open till Christmas.'Photo Ben Parsons
Families appealing for Glebe Street Community Centre to be left open till Christmas.'Photo Ben Parsons

A bid to overturn a decision to axe a community centre has been defeated.

Burnley Borough Council’s Executive Committee had been accused of appropriating land at Glebe Street without correct procedure of public notice and consultation in October 2012.

The land has been earmarked to build 117 new homes in Burnley Wood, which would mean the closure of the youth and community centre there.

But a Liberal Democrat plan to “call in” the decision was voted against by the council’s Resources Scrutiny Committee.

Coun. Jeff Sumner signed the letter calling in the decision alongside his Lib Dem colleagues Couns. Tracy Kennedy and Anne Kelly, County Coun. Margaret Brindle and Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle.

Questions were put to Mike Cook, director of economic regeneration, Tom Forshaw, head of the chief executive’s office, and Coun. Mark Townsend, Executive member for resources.

The plan to call in the decision was defeated by five votes to three.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun. Townsend said: “The challenge to the decision was shown to be a politically motivated stunt by a group of Lib Dem councillors.

“I respect the passionate campaign mounted by the residents to keep the recreation ground on Glebe Street.

“The recreation ground has served generations of local residents well but it is the future we have to focus on. It has been a difficult decision to use the land for housing development but I am convinced it is in the best interests of Burnley Wood going forward.”

Coun. Kennedy said she was disappointed by the decision but said her party would continue to lobby the council.

She said: “We’re extremely disappointed by the outcome. I believe we put forward some strong arguments.

“Our decision to call it in centred around the process not the decision to appropriate the land.

“The council now has to dispose of the land and the public will have a right to air their views on this.”

The scrutiny meeting was the latest in a long-running saga, which began when the Liberal Democrats held power in Burnley.

The call-in was triggered when the Executive Committee voted in December to appropriate land bounded by Glebe Street, Kirkgate and Parkinson Street to allow property developers Keepmoat to build houses on the land as part of long-standing regeneration plans for Burnley Wood.