Leading councillor says decision to give go ahead to £12.5M expansion sets 'worrying precedent' and puts parks and green spaces in the borough at risk of future development

A leading councillor has spoken of his dismay at Burnley Council's decision to give the green light to a £12.5M expansion plan at the town's college.

By Susan Plunkett
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:45 pm

Coun. Andy Fewings, who is Leader of the Green Party in Burnley, said allowing the expansion on the site in question was taking green space owned by Burnley residents away from them.

He said: "Burnley Green Party is fully supportive of Burnley College and the future of our young people.

"However, we believe there are better sites. For example, we have two schools which are empty and crying out to be re-used or if they needed an adjacent site the derelict land next to and opposite the college which could also have been used.

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Green Party leader Coun.Andy Fewings has called on both Burnley Council and Burnley College to come up with an alternative site for a £12.5M expansion plan for the college

"The justification by councillors seems to be that the site had become rundown. But the site is council owned and those councillors have presided over the decline."

Councillors voted 10 to two in favour of the expansion to the college's Princess Way campus that will see a new 20,450 square foot industrial hub and three educational buildings on six acres of land along the River Calder.

Coun. Fewings said the decision had set a 'worrying precedent' as the land in question included protected open space and land that had covenants attached to it stating they were for recreational use only.

He added: "The green space is owned by Burnley residents via Burnley Council.

"Those specific protections once gave this land a similar protected status as our local parks – so now do we have to look over our shoulder every time the council doesn’t maintain a park or play space properly?

"What park or green space will they take away next?"

Coun. Fewings has called on both Burnley Council and Burnley College to 'prioritise the education of our young people and the wellbeing of our residents and environment' by choosing a better site.

"I hope they will do the right thing," he said.

The expansion plan has been hailed as 'great news for Burnley' by the town's MP Antony Higginbotham, but protestors, who have campaigned to stop the expansion from going ahead on what they describe as 'cherished' green space that has been used for generations, have vowed to appeal against the decision, made on Monday night at Burnley Council's development control committee.

Kellty Decruz, a spokesman for 'Save Clifton Street and Stoneyholme Rec' group said: "This is not the end of the road and we will appeal against this decision.

"We are not against the idea of expanding Burnley College but we don't believe it should be at the cost of much used and valued green space."

the car park.