CHILDREN and families united to protest against a council’s proposals to build 71 new homes on land they use for dog walking and playing.

Around 60 people took to the vacant grassland on Fieldfare Way in Bacup,known as the ‘back meadows’, armed with placards and signs, some of which read ‘we all play on here, hands off’.

The land is regularly used as a place for children to play, has a BMX track on it, and is home to plenty of wildlife including badgers.

More than 82 objections have been put to Rossendale Council to oppose the building of the new homes by Altham-based McDermott Homes, and a residents' association has even been set up in response to the proposals.

Janet Boon, who formed The Pennine/Fieldfare Way Residents' Association last week, which now has close to 200 members, said: “I’ve lived here for 30 years and I’ve taken my kids to play on the back meadows since they were four or five.

“The children use it for camping on, playing, messing about, there was even a BMX track up there that they used.

“I see lots of dog walkers up there too, and we feel really strongly about the proposals.

“In the past they’ve built up the back and side of it, but they’ve always had that bit free.

“We knew something was coming as they fenced it off.

“There’s lots of wildlife; deer come on there and we know there’s badger setts on there too.

“And it won’t just be the houses that back on to it that are affected, it’ll be the whole area.”

Initially, McDermott leafleted 90 homes in the vicinity, but Mrs Boon said many more homes and families would be affected.

She said the residents had distributed 700 letters and posted them to homes in the area in hope they could garner more support.

They are also calling for full disclosure of the land ownership as they feel Rossendale Council is not being completely transparent with the details.

Mrs Boon added: “We need to hold onto this beautiful green space which houses wildlife, plants, and our recreational area, because when all the other surrounding areas identified for building/development have been constructed this is the only land that we can access for recreational use that we will have left.” The closing date for representations on the application is Friday.