Leading politician backs residents' campaign against plans for Burnley College to build extension on their cherished green space

A leading politician came to Burnley this week to support residents who are protesting against plans to build an extension to Burnley College on a recreation ground they say has been used by families for decades.

Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Amelia Womack, joined residents who are campaigning against plans to create a 'North Campus' for the college on the area known as Clifton Street/Stoneyholme rec.

Womack said “Time and time again we see establishment parties offering up cherished green spaces as cheap development.

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"The Green Party supports fair access to education for all, and applauds Burnley College for its amazing accolades.

Amelia Womack, (right) deputy leader of the Green Party with protestor Leanne Cregg and other residents, at the Clifton Street rec

"However, the college and the town have been let down by the Labour and Lib Dem Council which is prioritising building on green spaces ahead of brownfield sites.

"When it comes to protecting the environment, the Green Party does what it says on the tin and I wanted to come here to add my voice to that of Burnley residents and the local Green Party to save Clifton and Stoneyholme Rec.”

Andy Fewings, who is Leader of the Green Group on Burnley Council said: “As we have learned more about these proposals, it has become clear that the council has guided the college to build on this green space ahead of other land available.

"I think that is shameful and shows a complete disregard for the importance of green spaces, protecting the environment and shows the Labour and Lib Dem coalition running Burnley Council have only hollow words when it comes to tackling the climate emergency.

"I fully support the college and they have shown that they do want to listen to residents, but ultimately the council should let them use the land it owns next to the college for this expansion.

"There is no need to build on this protected open space that belongs to the residents.”

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As part of the 'don't wreck the rec' campaign residents held a family fun day and protest rally on the site and they have also demonstrated outside the college.

There is also a petition against the plans and a facebook group was launched to gather as much support as possible for the campaign.

If it gets the green light the development would include an industry hub, three education buildings, a five-a-side pitch and a car park set among green parkland within the existing Princess Way campus.

It carries on from expansion work currently taking place at the college with a new four-storey teaching building due to be completed by the end of the year, and the college’s sports and fitness centre set to grow in size.