Tameside residents appeal to keep Abbey Hey Playing Fields
Thursday 16th June 2016 10:08 Gorton & Openshaw News Posted by Adam Higgins

Residents are appealing for memories of an historic playing field as they campaign against development plans.

Proposals have been submitted by developers to build 158 houses and a three-storey block of 12 apartments across the green landscape.

Now The Friends of Godfrey Ermen Playing Fields are appealing for Reporter readers to help as they campaign to save the Abbey Hey fields on the edge of Tameside.

They say the fields are one of the few remaining green spaces in the area and a vital ‘green lung’.

The residents are asking people who have memories of using the fields in Gorton to demonstrate how historically important they have been.

Local resident Emily Hulley said: “I moved here because it’s a really nice, green part of Manchester and I
think it would be a real shame to lose that. It’s a facility that the local community uses. Nature has sort of taken over; there’s lots of wildlife there.”

Fellow campaigner Anne Hern added: “The number of proposed properties is overwhelming and unnecessary. We have a really good community spirit and nobody wants to see a development of this magnitude on the field.

“The infrastructure in the area just won’t take it. The schools are overcrowded as it is.”

Godfrey Ermen was a wealthy cotton manufacturer who died in the late 1800s, leaving £200,000 in trust for any object deemed worthy of assistance.

His great-grand-nephew gave £5,670 of that money to the Manchester and Salford Playing Fields’ Society for the sole purpose of building a playing field in Abbey Hey. The field was opened in 1931, a story covered at the time by the Reporter.

The field was used for various sports and scout camps before Abbey Hey FC used it in the 1980s.

It is now owned by the Greater Manchester Trust for Recreation, who operate as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester.

At the time of opening, it was declared that the field would be ‘dedicated for ever and ever to the time of all who choose to use it as a playing field.’

Anne added: “We are appealing for information about the field and the people who have used it and who have fond memories of it.

“We want a wealth of information because if the field, heaven forbid, does get built on, once it’s gone, it’s gone. People have got fond memories of playing there and it is vitally needed in the area.

“It’s described as a green lung. When you think, we’ve got three main roads; the motorway, A57 and Ashton Old Road in very close distance, we need that fresh air.”

To add your voice to the campaign, you can sign the petition at change.org/p/manchester-city-council-planning-department-save-godfrey-ermen-playing-field

You can share your memories of the fields on Facebook at the Friends of Godfrey Ermen Playing Fields page.

Manchester City Council is expected to make a decision by August 17.

 

By Tom Greggan