BURNLEY councillors clashed over the decision to demolish Glebe Street community centre at a full council meeting.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jeff Sumner criticised Burnley Council for pulling down the building without giving prior notice that the demolition was going to take place.

He said the people of Burnley Wood would be left without a community centre if nearby Terrace Fields became no longer financially viable, and added that the community centre had been in Glebe Street for many years and many residents were greatly attached to the building.

He was backed up in his claims by fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Tracy Kennedy, and a small number of people on the balcony clapped and cheered the pair.

But Council Leader Julie Cooper said the council had only been following through on a decision made by the previous Liberal Democrat administration, who came to the original agreement with ho-using giants Keep-moat when MP Gordon Birtwistle was council leader.

Mayor Frank Cant had to call the meeting to order several times after Liberal Democrat councillors became disruptive, and he warned some of the members over their conduct.

Conservative councillor David Heginbotham said the disorder at the meeting was the worst he’d seen in more than 20 years on the council.

He also expressed his frustration that much of the meeting focused on the one issue.

Speaking outside the meeting, Coun Sumner said: “They did it behind closed doors.

“They made a decision not to inform any councillors or any protesters so we couldn’t petition any further.

“They wanted it out of the way, and the decision was made by Julie Cooper. I’m very disappointed.”

But Coun Cooper defended the decision.

After the meeting, she commented: “There wasn’t a need to tell them.

“They knew it was happening imminently.

“We were doing the responsible thing, not letting the building become a danger or an eyesore for residents.

“We were just following through on what we said we were going to do.

“We’d said we intended to demolish the building.

“My conscience is absolutely clear.

“We’ve been transparent and open with everyone.”