LETTER: Clarets Trust urges Government to back Burnley FC Gawthorpe development plans

THIS is a copy of the letter I have sent on behalf of the Clarets Trust to the Secretary of State (for the Environment) about Burnley Football Club’s planning application to Burnley Council for developments at Gawthorpe.

It reads: “Since retiring as Member of Parliament for Burnley I have taken on a number of local positions one of them being chairman of the Clarets Trust which is the democratic body representing fans of Burnley Football Club – we are also share holders in the club. Gawthorpe was developed by Burnley Football Club over 50 years ago, as a training facility, but from being a front runner in such facilities it has reached a position where it needs major investment and upgrading to meet the requirements of the 21st century.

“I have been a Burnley football supporter myself since just after the war and have seen the good days and the difficult days for the club. Having just had one year in the Premier League Burnley are now fighting to regain that position and Gawthorpe is a crucial part of those plans.

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“The training facilities do need massive improvement not only for the current players, but to enable the club to attract the players of the future. The club is being run on very sound but tight financial grounds – unlike many other clubs at the present time. This investment is part of the sound planning for the future and is long overdue.

“The council has given its planning consent approval to this development but as the plans involve green land it has to be referred to your department for consideration. The National Trust are in agreement with the proposals. The Clarets Trust has asked me to write this letter to you urging you and your department to give speedy approval to the proposal and to allow the development to go ahead.

“You will appreciate that this proposal is, of course, important to the club but it has a much wider importance than that. As a former MP for Burnley, former leader of the council and as one has been involved in Burnley in many things, over many years, I have no doubt the club is of very great importance to the town. For this reason this development is deserving of urgent and speedy approval.

“I do not feel I need say more than that the club has worked very closely with all those involved to ensure the proposal is a sensitive one to the area in which the redevelopment will take place.

I look forward to hearing from you at an early date and a speedy decision in regard to this proposal.”