MORE than 70 residents gathered at a Blackburn ‘haven of tranquillity’ on Sunday to support their application for the renewal of its designation as local green space.

The Whitehall Road Neighbourhood Forum wants the field near homes in Revidge to be safeguarded from building in the next Blackburn with Darwen Borough Local Plan.

It has submitted an application for the 3.5 acres of open land to be re-nominated for protection after it was suggested as suitable for development as affordable homes last year.

Whitehall Road field is one of three sites being looked at by Great Places Housing Association.

The forum has submitted an application for the 2015 ‘local green space’ designation to be repeated in the new plan describing it as a ‘much-used haven of tranquillity for local people and critical to their health and well-being’.

Its spokesman Tony Hopwood said: “It was a really good turnout which shows the strength of feeling locally.

“There were residents from Whitehall Road, Revidge Road and Ravenswing Avenue there. People really want this green space protected.

“As well as being a haven of tranquillity and for wildlife it is unsuitable for development for housing.

“There is only one access from Revidge Road and Whitehall Road is too narrow and the traffic and parking would be impossible.

“We are determined to get this space protected.

“The forum has been in touch with local Billinge and Beardwood councillor Jackie Floyd.

“Residents will follow this through to the end.”

Cllr Floyd said: “I am glad the residents have got their act together nad submitted the application for ‘local green space’ designation. I shall follow its progress carefully.”

The demonstration was attended by Cllr Hussain Akhtar, who represented the neighbouring Shear Brow and Corporation Park Ward and is vice chair of the borough planning committee.

He said: “I attended the meeting on Whitehall Road field as many of my ward residents were there.

“I discussed the application with people there.

"I and the planning committee will consider it carefully.

"It was a very worthwhile visit.”

The forum has offered to take over maintenance of the field from the council.

The 20-page application document says the land, council-owned since 1925, supports a wide variety of wildlife from birds (including tawny owls and kestrels) through newts and bats to visiting roe deer.

The application will be considered for inclusion in the new local plan to come into force in 2021.