Letters Week Ending February 10th 2006

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Open space must not be used for school AFTER reading Brenda Lambert's comments in Friday's Express I was amazed.

That specific day all matches for the Junior League had to be cancelled due to frozen pitches. This is why she failed to see any matches being played.

If she had gone last Sunday, February 2nd, she would have seen a different picture. There was five matches being played and about 200 people using the playing fields. This is a regular occurrence on a Saturday and Sunday.

Now the evenings are coming lighter the fields will be used even more. It is not only used by the junior football leagues but by the senior football teams.

I cannot understand how some residents of Burnley feel that the new super school should be sited on lower Towneley playing fields. Obviously, it is Burnley residents who hardly ever use the facilities available to us all. The lower Towneley playing fields are used by many residents. Don't get me wrong any improvement to the children's education is a value to us all but not at the detriment of the residents of Burnley. I object to the site of one of the schools, i.e. Towneley school. The school could be built on the original site instead of spending millions and millions of pounds on building a new bridge, building the school on stilts because of the danger of flooding.

Do the residents of Burnley realise that the Government will only be providing 20m. to build all the new schools and Lancashire County Council have to borrow about 250m. in order to build the schools?

This money borrowed by the council will need to be paid back – how? By increasing the council tax? What I also do not understand is how Lancashire County Council own lower Towneley playing fields. Why did Burnley Borough Council sell this land for a meagre 500!

I was also disgusted to read MP Kitty Ussher's letter. She approved of the new siting and could not understand what the fuss was about. She should understand the feelings of us all or maybe she cannot understand how we feel because she has only recently moved into the Burnley area. She must listen to us all and not just disregard our views and concerns.

The lower Towneley playing fields are an asset to the community. It will destroy the area and will cause major problems to lower Brunshaw residents, i.e. traffic congestion, pupils hanging around the area during dinner time, little problems, need I go on.

It is important that all Burnley councillors fight our corner. At this stage, they are all in agreement to object against the planning and siting of this school. I hope this continues and that they do not sell the remainder of the land that Lancashire County Council assume they are having.

We need a public inquiry and we need you all to continue the fight. I do not want to see open space being used for building. This land should be available for all to use without having to pay for the privilege.


Only so much residents can take

AS a resident of Fulledge for going on 70 years I find it laughable that Mr John Fielden, of Todmorden, is upset at getting a parking ticket for parking on match day. There are signs all over.

Just imagine how we feel on match day. If we move our cars we cannot be sure that we get our own street never mind our own front door. We have to put up with the traffic all season.

For a small fee (smaller than a parking fine) he could park his car on Fulledge recreation ground. There are attendants and far less chance of the cars being damaged. This is not the only thing that Fulledge residents have to put up with. For years now the television reception has been diabolical because of "the stand!"

Nobody seems to care, only the Fulledge residents. The football club ignores us, then expects our support. Our then MP Mr Peter Pike did not want to know and the councillors seem helpless to do anything and this is every day of the year. I think that we are the people with a genuine complaint.

Would Mr Fielden like us to come to Todmorden and block all the streets? Somehow I do not think so.

MARGARET WILKINSON, Brockenhurst Street, Burnley

Park area location makes sense to me

I AM old enough to remember when the main secondary school in the Towneley area was Burnley Wood, an old Victorian building which served the area well at the time but was eventually too small for the needs of the area. It had no playing field or grassed area attached to the school at all.

I thought it was so much better when they built Towneley in the park area. With easy access to the hall and all nature's gifts, it really did seem like progress to me. It had no playing fields attached to the school either, they were across the road and river, where they are proposing to put the new one. Surely it makes sense to keep the new school in the park area. Our natural gifts are not just valuable for their own sake. Our children should continue to have a school in a nice environment. If our youngsters cannot have a nice place to learn, what hope is there?

Also, where else will it go if not in the park? Where is big enough, near the centre of town, to do it justice, and give a place for the area's children to go to a local school, and not one all the way across town?

MR JAMES HALSTED, Todmorden Road, Burnley

Voice objections to proposed mobile phone mast

I WISH to bring to the attention of all Queensgate residents that Burnley Borough Council is about to lease land on the Prairie playing fields to a mobile phone company, to enable them to erect a phone mast.

I urge all residents to contact their ward councillors and Kitty Usher MP to voice their objections to council-owned land being used for this purpose. There will be a real threat to the health and well being of all residents in this area.

The Government chooses to ignore the scientific evidence presented to them about the damage being caused to people's health because of the money involved and, because of their guidelines, local councils cannot refuse planning applications on health grounds. However, there is no excuse for the council allowing a mast to be put on its own land, especially on a playing field!

Please act quickly because once the lease is granted it will be too late.

A VERY CONCERNED PARENT, Prairie Crescent, Burnley

Future of football in council's hands

WHEN you are involved with football at grassroots level you are always looking to the future.

But for once, everyone in Burnley, including the councillors of this town, should look back to the dark days of the late 90s when the Prairie playing fields were declared surplus to requirements. One man stood out in the rain and snow collecting signatures for a petition against the closure of the Prairie and its imminent sale. Whether the deal to "sell off" the Prairie was done we will never know. One thing that the leagues and clubs of this town are well aware of is they all owe a debt to Mr Jack Denson, the friends of the Prairie and the residents that surround the Prairie – a big thank you to everyone.

The Prairie today has the finest playing surface for council held playing fields for many a mile. It is a credit to Burnley Council and the partnership created with the leagues working in conjunction that secured the funding to give this town a facility that everyone can be proud of and that future generations can enjoy.

Since the Prairie re-opened the leagues have lost only one full week's fixtures and that was to frost. In the old days once it started raining the Prairie was unplayable.

When you work in a partnership with someone you are all supposed to be pulling in the same direction, on an imaginary rope, but when I "look up" Burnley Council are on the other end pulling the leagues away from their targets.

I realise the council have secured the heritage funding for Towneley Park and are committed to a parking strategy but to charge people to participate in sport is criminal.

The future of football in this town is, unfortunately, in the hands of Burnley Council instead of the league's executive committee. The Playing Pitch Partnership, in conjunction with the Football Development Group, are committed to a 10-year action plan to improve the facilities and playing surfaces throughout the borough.

If Burnley Council continues with its proposed parking charges there will not be anyone around to play because of the increased charges that parking will cause.

MR JOHN PILLING, Chairman, Burnley and District Sunday League, Vice-chairman Warburton's Youth Football League

Current site just too small

I WISH to make comment on two issues. Firstly, to correct any mistaken impression of my views on the siting of the new schools that may arise from comment in last Friday's letters column, I write to clarify my position.

The existing site on the right as you enter Towneley Park is, unfortunately, too small for the new school. That said, when the existing buildings go it gives us the chance to landscape and make the entrance to the park much better – surely a plus point. I believe the new building can be done in a way to minimise damage and to blend in and harmonise with the park. Obviously those living nearest will have some concerns but that is inevitable with any development and I feel sure the problems will be less than they fear. Finally, doing it this way does avoid the use of prefab buildings and that must be another plus point.

The second point is about railway stations arising from a report in the House of Commons which highlights ours rank among the poor stations. This is an issue that has had a lot of media coverage locally over recent weeks. My very first letter to the Express over 40 years ago highlighted the poor state of the then Burnley Central Station.

Last month I had to pick up someone at Manchester Road station and then later take them to Burnley Central. They really are a deterrent to passengers. One of our problems is perhaps having too many stations – with Hapton we have five. The main potential for future services clearly lies with the Manchester Road line.

We must press the railway companies to invest in the stations, staff them and make them accessible to the disabled. On Burnley Borough Council's part at Burnley Central do let us get rid of those two eyesores, the Adelphi and Reindeer. Those buildings should be brought in to proper attractive use and if not, get them demolished!


What's the point in supporting scheme

AS an avid proponent of recycling I have for the past 12 months assiduously put out paper, plastics and glass for collection on a two-weekly basis. The odd collection has been missed, but nothing too serious to complain about.

However, recently I placed the white paper sack and blue box at the entrance to my drive as usual. The Biffa collectors did come, dealt with the blue box but, for some inexplicable reason, emptied the contents of the sack all over the pavement and took away the empty sack. This, of course, is not just incompetence, but is also a deliberate act of vandalism on the part of a Biffa operative.

I am led to believe a number of other householders in the Sycamore Avenue/Caernarvon Avenue area suffered a similar fate in that their white sacks were removed and not replaced.

My wife telephoned the council on at least six occasions without getting through to a human being, before finally speaking to someone in authority late afternoon. She was promised that the Biffa gang would return the following morning to collect the paper – but 24 hours later, as I write this letter, the pile of paper is still on the pavement.

While the council might be fully committed to recycling it would seem that the Biffa operatives are treating the residents with contempt. If this type of incident recurs I am likely to cease bothering to separate out recyclables. What is the point of helping the council when things like this happen?

Furthermore, why is it so difficult to get through on the telephone? If it takes a full day to get through then one can only assume that the council is receiving large volumes of complaints. Surely, any teething problems should by now have been ironed out?

MR P. BOLTON,Palace Gardens, Burnley

Hall rent is not 104,000 as stated

REGARDING the article about Lancashire County Council's proposals to end their lease of the National Trust's Gawthorpe Hall which appeared in the Padiham Express, January 31st.

The article states: "Lancashire County Council pays the National Trust 104,000 a year to lease the hall but wants to bring the agreement to an end". I should point out that, as yet, no proposals have been received from the council in respect of ending the lease, which was signed in 1972 for a period of 99 years.

As regards the annual rent paid to the Trust by the council under the leasing terms, this is certainly not 104,000 as quoted in your article.

We can only presume this figure, which did not originate from the National Trust, refers to the council's costs for running the hall.

MR DAVID PORTER, Area manager,The National Trust

Why pay in 10 months?

CAN Burnley Council explain why a 12-month council tax bill has to be paid in 10 months?

It starts in April and should end in March, but they insist that your last payment should be in January. And if you have not paid by February 16th you are in court and you have to pay court costs.

This is wrong, no-one should be threatened with court action until April. How do they get away with it?

Also why should Town Hall staff get cheaper parking than anyone else in Burnley? They are no different to the rest of us. So again how do Burnley Council get away with this? Because the people of Burnley let them!

ANN SISSON, Copperfield Close, Worsthorne

Did you see whale tour?

SOMETIME in the late 50s or early 60s there was on tour a very large whale on the back of a low loader. This whale on tour was featured in the Daily Express.

The whale arrived in Burnley and I went to see it. My problem is over the years no one believed me. I have searched to see if it was reported in the Burnley Express to no avail. Perhaps one of your readers may have seen it.

The whale for some reason became known has the Barnsley whale, for what reason I do not know, other than I think it was first exhibited there.

Do any of your readers know what happened to it. The website for information is www.bigwhaleonalorry.com

My e-mail address is fbalderson@btinternet.com