Furious Burnley residents call for action from police chief after arsonists strike at treasured beauty spot

Residents in a closeknit community in Burnley are so angry about an arson attack on a newly built viewing platform at a beauty spot  they have written to a police chief calling for action.

Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 5:19 pm
The remains of the newly erected viewing platform in Briercliffe after arsonists torched it last Friday.

Members of the Briercliffe Community Hub have sent a letter to the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw claiming the area where they live is being plagued by anti-social behaviour but they are not given the 'priority we deserve.'

The arson attack, on the newly installed viewing platform on the woodland walk in Queen Street, proved to be the last straw for residents who claim the area is regularly plagued by anti-social behaviour, and they are now appealing for restorative justice to be put into place.

A petition calling for the culprits responsible for the fire to make an apology in person to Briercliffe Parish Council, who oversaw the project, already has almost 600 signatures of support.

The petition is also calling for whoever started the fire to be made to pay towards the cost of re-building the platform and also help with the work.

The hub was launched to bring the community together and is applying for charitable status.

One of the hub founders is Louise Haines who said the call for action was to make the culprits aware of the devastation they had brought to the area.

She said: "We want whoever did this to realise they could have put their own lives and the lives of others in danger.

"They have destroyed something that this community has worked hard for. So many families were planning their Easter break around the new platform, organising Easter egg hunts, walks and picnics but all that has been taken away.

"This is not about naming and shaming, it is about making these youngsters realise there are consequences for their actions.

"Everyone makes mistakes and we hope they will realise that what they have done is totally wrong and is unacceptable to everyone."

The platform had only been open for a few weeks when it was set on fire last Friday night. Plans were on the cards to install benches and picnic tables for the public to enjoy.

Briercliffe parish councillors had worked hard to secure grant funding from Lancashire Environment Fund which, in conjunction with parish and Burnley Council contributions, brought new life to the woodland walk.

Along with the footpath upgrades the viewing platform was created to make the most of the views of the Thursden Valley countryside.

Describing the attack as 'disgraceful' parish council chairman Russell Hawkes is working with the police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue to find the culprits.

Anyone who has any information about the fire is asked to contact PC Healey on [email protected] or ring Lancashire police on 101 – quoting incident LC-20190412-1593.

If you wish to sign the petition to Clive Grunshaw please go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/restorative-justive-for-briercliffe.