Residents to stage town hall demonstration against plans for Burnley College expansion

Residents, who mounted a vigorous campaign against plans to extend Burnley College, are preparing to demonstrate outside the town hall tomorrow.

Protestors will gather outside the town hall ahead of Burnley Council' Development Control committee. at 6pm.

And they are also hoping to speak at the meeting as councillors gather to discuss the expansion that includes 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.

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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.

Clifton Street residents held a peaceful protest outside Burnley College last year in their bid to stop development on an area of green space close to their homes

The application is due to be delegated to the Head of Housing and Development Control for conditional approval .

Residents of Clifton Street launched their "Save Clifton Street and Stoneyholme Rec' campaign in the summer last year when the plans came to light. They say that while they are not opposed to the plans in principle they do not want the new 'North campus' to be built on a cherished piece of green space they say has been used for generations of families and dates back to the 1800s.

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Burnley councillors Andy Fewings and Martyn Hurt have backed the campaign along with Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Amelia Womack,who came to Burnley to show her support.

The site now, bounded by Rectory Road and Clifton Street, has all weather and basketball pitches and is surrounded by woodland and fields.

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Known as Clifton Street and Stoneyholme 'rec' protestors claim the site is a 'vital' community asset, and is is used daily by dog walkers, families and children as a safe play area and a space to learn to ride their bikes away from busy roads.

A fun day organised by residents on the site drew around 100 people and included a host of attractions, including a birds of prey display, games and refreshments several Burnley councillors also went along to show support for the protest.

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Kelly Decruz, a resident whose home looks out onto the 'rec' said: "We have said right from the start that we are not against Burnley College expanding because this will be a fantastic asset for the town.

"But we just don't want it to be at the cost of our rec."

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Residents are arguing that Vision Park, next to the college, would be better suited for the expansion as there is space there to accommodate it. And there is also a patch of land up for sale opposite the college that residents feel would be suitable for expansion.

Protestors have also carried out their own research and discovered the site is a haven for owls, bats and other wildlife which they say should also be protected.

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They also conducted research into the land and its connections to a number of sports clubs in the area.

They also have a facebook page devoted to the cause called Save Clifton Street and Stoneyholme Rec and members are posting pictures, videos and ideas to support the protest.

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In light of the objections alterations have been made to the plans including adaptations to screen residents from the impact of the development. The application also includes new and improved facilities for use by the community that will include improvements made to the existing grass pitch to provide a seven a side pitch, a new floodlit and fenced multi-use games area with a tarmac surface an outdoor gym.

Residents were left crestfallen when Sport England, which initially objected to the proposal, withdrew its opposition after the plans for the seven a side pitch were put on the table along with a scheme for major refurbishment work to the pitches at Queens Park in the town.