A struggle to save Huncoat’s ‘green lung’ from housing developers has ended in triumph.
Vocal residents backed by local councillors have called for the fields around Spout House Woodland to be protected and kept as open fields.
The land had been designated for up to 400 houses, but campaigners insisted it should be kept for recreation and leisure. It has been used by local teams for football practice since the 1950s, and is popular with walkers, campers and kite-flyers.
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe recently conducted a site visit with council colleagues and has now opted to find an alternative location for the housing, to be decided by a working group.
Councillor Britcliffe said: "I have visited the site at Bolton Road with members of the cabinet and Councillor Malcolm Pritchard and can only say I agree with concerned local people that we must save this beautiful piece of green land for Huncoat residents."
Environmental charity Prospects had tried to save the land bounded by Bolton Avenue, Bluebell Way, Lynwood Road and Winterley Drive, while a land swap was suggested allowing derelict land at Old Pit Top to be classed as suitable for housing development instead.
Huncoat councillor Paul Gott is on the working group and said the council had arrived at the only logical decision to protect Huncoat's green lung.
Councillor Gott said: "I was due to do a site visit on Monday but maybe they have gone and had a look independently.
"The issue has been used politically, but if it’s a means to an end then I am happy.
"We offered the site which is the Old Pit Top. It’s scrubland and needs regenerating and certainly myself, fellow councillors and residents suggested it for housing.
"Originally the Government Office for the North West said that was not possible but with a bit more strength to the elbow locally, hopefully we can make it happen."
A motion was proposed by Independent and Labour councillors at last month’s full council meeting calling for the land to be excluded from the Local Development Framework, but was defeated.
The ruling group had called for more time for the issue to be investigated.
Last October siblings Hollie and Lewis Southward presented a 180-signature petition to the council, calling for the fields to be saved and their campaign was backed by Huncoat United JFC.