A group of campaigning residents organised a walk to showcase the 94 acres of countryside that could be lost if building plans by the Issa brothers are approved on the outskirts of Blackburn.

'The Big Ramble' last weekend attracted people of all ages and saw members of the ‘Protect Our Greenbelt’ group trek around the fields and footpaths of Belthorn and Guide.

The group said the aim was to continue to raise awareness of the importance and “beauty” of the land Blackburn with Darwen Council is proposing to release for the building of industrial units.

The three-mile walk looked to highlight how important the land was to the dairy industry, animal feed industry and supporting rare and local wildlife.

Local resident and group representative, Donna Simpson, said: ‘We really want to dispel the myth that the land is low grade and is wasteland and therefore there is no problem with releasing it for building an industrial site.

“The land is used to feed one of our biggest dairy herds in the area and so provide us with milk and is also used to harvest grass to feed cattle, horses and small animals through the production of silage, hayledge and hay.

“Blackburn with Darwen Council claim the land doesn’t require and Environmental Impact Assessment which the group disagree with and in Blackburn’s own report they state that the overall impact of releasing this land and harm to the Green belt would be high and significant.”

The group opposes the inclusion of the green fields between Belthorn and Guide, near the M65’s Junction 5, in Blackburn with Darwen Council’s draft Local Plan for job-creating development.

Monte Blackburn Ltd, the property arm of EG Group founders’ Mohsin and Zuber Issa’s business empire, has a legal option on the land between Belthorn and Guide.

In April, the group walked from Belthorn War Memorial before making their way past Royal Blackburn Hospital, down towards Darwen Street bridge and ending the march on the steps of Blackburn Town Hall.

Earlier this spring, Blackburn with Darwen Council said there ‘would be further consultation on the draft local plan and an inquiry into it and there would be further opportunities to raise their concerns through the planning process’.

A Monte spokesperson had also previously said there is a ‘tremendous latent demand for new high quality employment units' in the area and the land is a 'prime and sustainable location’.