Campaigning residents lose their battle to halt demolition of former Burnley education centre to make way for new houses

Burnley residents' have lost their hard fought campaign against a housing developer’s plan to tear down an education centre and build homes.

An appeal against the decision by Burnley Council, to turn down the application by McDermott Developments Ltd to demolish the Isaac Centre and build 44 new houses, was upheld by a government inspector.

The council's development control committee initially refused the application on the grounds that it failed to represent sustainable development as there are insufficient education and medical facilities in the local area to support the development.

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Residents held two meetings as part of their campaign to halt the plans which they also claimed would destroy valuable green space in the town, including over 100 trees and shrubs aswell as the loss of wildlife.

Residents during their campaign to stop houses being built on the former Isaac Centre site in Harrogate Crescent, Burnley

They also argued that the development would bring an increase in cars to the Briercliffe area that would cause traffic chaos.

Green Party councillors Andy Fewings and Andy Wight backed the campaign and Labour councillors Asif Raja and Usman Arif, lodged their official objections to the council and those involved in the planning process.

Residents also argued that the centre could be saved and used as a community facility and they demonstrated outside the building in a bid to gain support for their cause.

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The inspector said he was confident that the new development would not place extra pressure on school places thanks to a methodology employed by Lancashire County Council to ‘identify and secure’ education contributions against housing developments which are expected to create a shortfall of school places within a reasonable walking distance of that development.

The inspector said: “The Education Contribution Methodology confirms that an education contribution will only be sought when there is a projected shortfall of places at schools within the local are and no such contribution was required for the proposal.”

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The inspector said he could not find any evidence that the new homes would place extra pressure on healthcare services in the area and pointed out that nearby Briercliffe surgery was open for new patients.

He also said there was ‘no substantive evidence’ to suggest the development would create an increased level of pollution.