Video: Campaigners hold demonstration against Burnley College plans to build new campus on prized play area and recreation ground

Demonstrators gathered outside Burnley College this week to protest against plans to build a new 'North campus' on a cherished piece of of green space they say has been used for generations of families.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:30 pm

Burnley councillors Andy Fewings and Martyn Hurt joined the peaceful protest and demonstrators, who waved placards and chanted "Don't Wreck the Rec' were also asking people to sign a petition against the plan to build on the area known as the Clifton Rec.

Protestor Leanne Cregg said: "We have received a lot of support so far, from people in Burnley and also from many who have moved away but want to support us.

"The protest is about raising awareness of the campaign and also getting more signatures for the petition."

Protestors lead the 'Don't Wreck the Rec' campaign
Protestors lead the 'Don't Wreck the Rec' campaign

A second demonstration is planned for Friday next week and the campaigners hope that as many people as possible will join them.

The residents went into battle as soon as they heard about the college's expansion plan which, if given the green light, would include an industry hub, three education buildings, a five-a-side pitch and a car park.

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.

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

Some of the Clifton Street rec demonstrators outside Burnley College this week

Known as Clifton Street and Stoneyholme 'rec' protestors claim the site is a 'vital' community asset, cherished by generations 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.

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."

Burnley councillors Andy Fewings (left) and Martyn Hurt in front to the land that campaigners believe could be used for part of Burnley College's expansion plans

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.

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

They have set up 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.