School hedges in Blackburn a cover for 'undesirable' antics
PARENTS at one of Blackburn’s new super-schools have called for action to clear tree branches and vegetation from a nearby footpath to stop “undesir able activities” in the hedgerows.
They have petitioned the borough council’s ruling executive board to clear and light the alleyway alongside the £24 million Central High School, opened in September, to improve safety for pupils using it as a short cut.
The document urges senior Blackburn with Darwen councillors to cut back hedges and trees and provide secure fencing on the footpath from Queen’s Park Close to Haslingden Road and Royal Blackburn Hospital car park.
Concerns have been raised about people loitering, anti-social behaviour and “public courting”.
Officials have told the ruling borough cabinet it would cost £2,400 to cut the undergrowth back and much more to prune trees and build a new fence. Instead they recommended regular inspections of the path, more supervision of pupils by teachers and the development of a proper woodland management plan costing £5,000 to implement and £1,000 a year to maintain.
The report said: “The petitioners have raised concerns that the land affords opportunities for undesirable activities.
“These issues have arisen only since the opening of the new school.”
Queen’s Park councillor Salim Mulla said: “There has been a lot of concern about this.
“It attracts a lot of young people gathering together in groups who get up to undesirable activities — loitering, anti-social behaviour and a bit of public courting local people could well do without.”
Alan Chambers, headteacher of the 960-pupil school, said: “I know parents are concerned and raised this with me and I raised it with the council.
“Now they have petitioned the executive board.
“We supervise pupils using the path.
“The main path from Queen’s Park Close to the side entrance of the schools is lit and fairly well-maintained.
“The main area of particular concern is the dogleg from there to the hospital car park, used by many pupils as a shortcut to Shadsworth.”