Campaigners wanting to preserve the former Harris Park orphanage building and site have applied for public right of way.Advertisement
The right of way application comes as Booths chairman Edwin Booth CBE has backed the campaign group.
The campaign group was set up following an application by owner Yousuf Bhailok to build a housing development on the former cricket pitches and grounds of the Victorian grade-II listed orphanage.
In December amended proposals for 23 new homes on the site, off Garstang Road, were rejected by Preston City Council’s planning committee.
One of the people leading the Friends of Harris Park group, and nearby resident in Fulwood, Prema Taylor said: “For years a path was followed informally by the public across Harris Park, connecting Garstang Road and Black Bull Lane.
“People walked through the beautiful grounds, stopping to pay their respects at the War Memorial dedicated to former residents of the Harris Childrens’ Home, who bravely laid down their lives for their country in the great wars.
“Since 2009/2010 this path has been closed to the public and access to the War Memorial restricted.
“Friends of Harris Park have applied to Lancashire County Council for registration of a public Right of Way based on historic usage, with evidence provided by statements from local residents covering a period of over 50 years.
“We very much hope this path can be reopened so that the public can once again enjoy a pleasant shortcut and give the War Memorial the attention it deserves, whilst conducting themselves in a respectful and responsible manner towards the grounds and the owner and residents of Harris Park.”
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The map below shows the route of the right of way being applied for by the Friends group, and may be consulted on by Lancashire County Council. It would link Garstang Road, from the crossing by the Harris Park entrance, through to Black Bull Lane close to the entrance for Queen’s Drive Primary School.
The Friends of the Harris Group has also announced they have received the backing of prominent businessman Edwin Booth.
He said: “Harris Park is an area of great meaning to my family as the original Children’s Homes on the site were built by a committee which included my Great Great Grandfather Edwin Henry Booth, the founder of Booths.
“Today the Harris Trust represents many of the committee’s values in its work to support disadvantaged children and it was formed out of the sale of the site to UCLan for student accommodation more than 30 years ago.
“There is a great deal of history attached to Harris Park and the idea of developing the site as a group of homes with house parents was unique back in the late 1800s.
“The site deserves to be remodelled with sensitivity and in such a way to reflect the needs of modern society and the residents living close by. Harris Park is both a part of Preston’s heritage and a monument to an innovative approach to caring for destitute children in an age when being orphaned often resulted in being offered accommodation that lacked the love and care so vital in a young person’s formative years.”
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What do you think about the potential right of way access? Let us know your views in the comments below