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Blackburn playing fields could be sold for over £2m
HISTORIC playing fields are to be sold off for millions by the Old Blackburnian Association for housing.
Blackburn’s Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School is set to end fees from September and it is believed that will impact on playing fields owned by the association of former students.
The Old Blackburnians Association, made up of former QEGS pupils, is proposing to sell its football club site, the Memorial Ground at Lammack Road.
However, residents are expected to be upset at thedecision, according to a local councillor.
The association expects a sale price in excess of £2million which will ensure its survival after fees are abolished.
It fears pupils at the school may no longer wish to join it after QEGS becomes a free school.
In addition to selling the land, the group is to apply for planning consent to develop the land as housing.
A letter signed by headteacher Simon Corns and key figures from QEGS and the Old Blackburnians Association said: “The development of QEGS converting to free school status in September this year, while marvellous for the future of the school, poses a threat to OBA’s annual subscription income.”
It adds: “It is proposed that we apply for planning consent for residential development in order the Memorial Ground can be subsequently sold to a property developer.”
More than 4,000 members of the group have been invited to a meeting next month to vote on the proposals.
They also include establishing two new playing fields at Wooldridge Playing Fields, Pleckgate and to purchase the freehold of Alexandra Meadows in West Park Road, home of the East Lancashire Cricket Club, to be used by both groups.
QEGS bursar Nick Edwards said: “It’s not that we particularly want to, but membership is faling and the Memorial Ground is declining. Without fees things will get worse.
“It won’t be popular as no one wants a building site in their area.
“However it is one of those decisions that have to be made if we are to carry on. “ Local councillor Mike Lee said: “Personally I feel they should keep it the way it is.
“Residents will not want more housing there and access would be difficult.
“I would urge them to find a way to keep it as it is for the sake of the area.”
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