CONTROVERSIAL plans for new play equipment are set to be approved despite anti-social behaviour worries.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported earlier this year proposals were submitted to Hyndburn Council for an upgrade and expansion of the play area at Baxenden Recreation Ground in Hollins Lane.

At the time the plans were praised for offering children something to do and replacing a nearby play area in Back Lane in Baxenden which was removed last summer.

However, nine letters of objection have been sent to the council raising issues with the plans such as worries it could increase noise levels, nuisance behaviour, vandalism and create more litter.

Despite the complaints, council bosses have recommended the plans for approval at the planning meeting on Wednesday.

A report from planning officers said: “The proposed development is considered acceptable and would be a significant enhancement of the play area which already exists which is falling into disrepair.

“This would contribute towards the council’s aim of promoting an active lifestyle for youngsters in the borough.”

Residents opposing the plans said the initial multi-purpose games area at the recreational ground also faced objections in 2003, and similar issues still persist.

A statement from Baxenden Residents Association said: “No one wanted this facility.

“Adding more youth facilities can attract more youths to the area.

“It can increase noise and nuisance levels.

“It can detrimentally change a quiet, desirable, residential area and damage the character of the area.

“It can negatively affect the lives of nearby residents, many of whom are elderly.”

The plans are to include new items for play equipment including a basket swing, sling shot, aerial runway and a small rotating see-saw.

Swings, originally installed in the 1970s, will also be replaced as part of the plans.

The extension of the existing play area would be to the rear of the ballcourt onto a grassed area, and would also stretch six metes towards Hollins Lane.

Baxenden Community Forum has also been working with the council on the plans to improve and upgrade the play area.

A grant application has been put in for funding to see how much will be available to upgrade the facility.

Cllr Terry Hurn, who represents the area on Hyndburn Council, said: “Ever since they removed the facilities in Back Lane we’ve been pushing for them to do something.

“I thought they would decide to do something over at the recreation ground because there is plenty of space.

“It’s important kids have somewhere to go and somewhere to play outdoors.”