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Conservationists lodge a protest

27 Mar 1981
Lowerhouse Lodges, Lowerhouse Lane, Burnley

Conservationists lodge a protest

The top lodge at Lowerhouse - a stretch of water with an ecological importance, say naturalists, which perhaps outweighs any claim it has to being a beauty spot.

A plan to completely fill in the "top lodge" at Lowerhouse seems certain to put Burnley FC right in the middle of yet another local clash between the hard cash business world and the increasingly vocal and powerful "save our heritage" lobby.
Three years ago, a 2,000-name petition from members of several interested organisations and the general public was handed to the council, asking for the lodges to be bought to save them from the possibility of being filled with motorway spoil. But the buying price and the potential development cost were felt to be too great a burden on a council with many other commitments.
Now the financially hard-pressed club, which bought the lodges for their development potential from chairman Mr Bob Lord's business, is taking steps towards realising a part of its asset. It is anyone's guess as to just how much the right to tip in the top lodge is worth to whichever contractors will be digging cuttings nearby for the next stretch of the M65. But with holes in the ground at a premium, it is safe to predict that many thousands of pounds would flow into the Burnley FC coffers, a big help in the costly battle to keep the town on the football map.
Leading local naturalist Mr Ken Spencer told the Burnley Express that it was a "decadent" step to fill in such stretches of water. In some places, large amounts of money were being spent just to create them. But Burnley FC secretary Mr Albert Maddox strongly emphasised that the plan would not affect the bottom lodge, which is easily the favourite amongst the 500-plus fishermen who enjoy what amounts to a "grace and favour" right to fish there - a right they greatly appreciate. Mr Maddox said that the top lodge is shallow, and badly affected by silt and weeds, and the club did not feel it would be wrong to fill it in, provided the various conditions were met.