CAMPAIGNERS fighting to retain green space near a former care home set to be turned into housing are gearing up to lodge a complaint with a local government watchdog.

Outline planning permissions has been granted for 30 new homes on the site of the old Feniscliffe Bank care home off Tower Road in Blackburn.

But residents say they have not been properly consulted over the proposals and are preparing to raise the matter with the Local Government Ombudsman.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board approved proposals to sell off the site of the former Feniscliffe Bank care home to Applethwaite Homes in February

According to campaigners, assurances were given that the 0.5 hectares of green land used by children and dog walkers will not be lost when the development is built.

But now they fear that may not be the case.

Leigh Keen, chairman of Feniscliffe Bank Residents Association, said: “The whole consultation has been a window dressing exercise. Our questions have not been answered at all and that’s why we feel the need to escalate it.

“We all want the best for the area and we appreciate that the building has to go but there has been a lack of consultation by Applethwaite and by the council.

“This has been thrust on to the residents and the community has not been consulted."

Livesey with Pleasington councillor Paul Marrow said: "The residents don't mind the building going and something being built there but there's a nice little space here and they don't feel they have been properly consulted over it.

"The consultation was abysmal at best and nothing has been brought forward to show how the development is going to be laid out."

Mark Howorth, who lives on Tower Road, added: "We are not bothered about the site being built on and even some of the space but we just want them to leave a viable area for the public to use."

But Blackburn with Darwen Council bosses stressed the planning process has not been completed and residents will have a further chance to voice their opinions.

Planning manager Gavin Prescott said “The formal planning application for the housing scheme is expected to be submitted towards the end of June. A full consultation process will then follow with the local residents. This will be another opportunity for any relevant information to be submitted by residents in response to the planning application.”

Speaking when the sale of the land to Applethwaite was approved subject to planning permission being granted, borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: "In the end, a lot of this is about balance. We say the developers are going to demolish an unwanted building and provide a significant piece of residential parking off-street.

“They will provide some green space and 30 high quality houses for people in this borough to live in. We believe in the end there is a balance there and it is a balance which is probably acceptable.”