A NEW group of residents has joined protests against the potential sale of a former school all-weather pitch to a developer.

Already householders on Old Gates Drive are opposing disposal of the rare piece of open space in Blackburn.

The land sale, part of a proposal for 29 new homes at Lomond Gardens by McDermott Homes, had to be halted by Blackburn with Darwen Council last year because of their opposition.

Now residents of the Rannoch Drive estate have joined the battle to prevent any sale of the pitch, used by St Bede’s Roman Catholic High School until 1997, for a new access road to the development.

They want any new estate accessed off Green Lane instead.

They have submitted a 119 signature petition from 88 households opposing the building of the new road which is currently part of a planning application for the overall development.

The petition says: "The design and layout of our estate makes it unsuitable to handle the extra traffic.

"Approving the proposed access route would unacceptably impact a lovely quiet and desirable estate for no good reason when alternative access of Green Lane is available."

Spokeswoman for the Rannoch Drive residents Steph Robinson said: "We have enough traffic for our small estate and cannot take any additional vehicles.

"Cars already have to park on the roads as there is not enough parking on the drives for the families who originally moved there with small children who have now grown up and have their own cars.

"The residents of Lomond Gardens have looked after the piece of land the council want to sell to the developers for the last 20 plus years.

"They do not want their peace and quiet ruined by the council and McDermott homes and nor do we."

The Rannoch Drive residents are also concerned about the scale of the proposed Lomond Gardens housing estate.

Mrs Robinson said: "They are planning to put too many four and five bedroom houses on the development without enough parking which is unacceptable."

Gavin Prescott, Blackburn with Darwen Council's planning manager, said: “We have received this petition and its receipt will be reported to the next Planning and Highways Committee on May 27.

"The issues raised in the petition will be considered during the assessment of the planning application which will be presented to the committee later in the summer.”

Kevin Allcock, leader of the Old Gates Drive residents, said: "It is heartening to hear of the Rannoch Drive residents strong views against this ludicrous development."