Denton residents battle to save last slice of green space
Monday 5th December 2016 11:07 Community Denton & Audenshaw News Posted by Adam Higgins

A group of determined residents are battling to save their last slice of green space, on an otherwise crowded industrial estate.

Catherine Street West in Denton, which sits between the modern Denton Rock development and the Victorian architecture of Moore’s Hat factory, is home to a small grass field, one of the only remaining patches of greenery in the area.

Adjacent to the busy M67 motorway, local residents say this patch of undeveloped land is their only sanctuary from their industrial surroundings.

The land was originally to go under the hammer at auction last month, but was delayed when residents complained they had received no notice of the sale.

In a letter dated October 12, sent following an objection by residents, Tameside Council stated: “The council has taken public decisions to dispose of excess and under-utilised land regardless of the planning designation of specific sites and this land sale is part of that policy.

“Following consideration… and operating within appropriate delegations…the objection does not provide reasonable justification for the council not to proceed with the sale of this site.”

The plot of land is up for auction by Pugh, who are selling the plot on behalf of Tameside Council.

It is currently listed with an asking price of between £20,000 and £30,000 for the 0.55 acre site.

There are currently two advertising billboards on the land, facing Manchester Road. These billboards bring in £2,600 each year, but the contract runs out at the end of 2016.

The grassed area is categorised as ‘Protected Open Space under policy OL4’, which “prohibits the use of any amenity space for development.”

However, the council’s own document on the policy states that exceptions will be made where one of four criteria can be met, most notably if it can be shown by a supply and demand study that the site’s use for sport or recreation is not necessary.

Residents close to the field are worried that if the land is sold, it will be built on immediately by developers.

They have spoken to several small developers, who have visited the site, and say they all said that they want to build on the green space.

Carl Whaite, who lives across from the field and is leading a group of residents in opposition to the sale, says that it is the only piece of green space left in the area.

“We just want to make clear that the residents want something to take away some of the industry around here and give us something that looks like a green space.”

They also say that the trees that run around the boundary of the land block traffic noise from the M67.

“This would be ‘town cramming’ as far as we’re concerned because we’re just crammed with buildings all around. There’s nowhere for children to play on,” he added.

Many of the residents say that their children and grandchildren use the area, with alternative spaces for children to play on over a mile away.

Peter Curran, a foster carer who lives next to the field, says his children use the field regularly, and would sell his house were the green space to disappear.

“My grandchildren play on here because we haven’t got a back garden. Our kids come on here playing football,” he said.

Responding to the Tameside Reporters’ questions on the future use of the site after its sale, a Tameside Council spokesperson said: “The Council is experiencing unprecedented reductions in government funding, and in order to maintain vital services it has determined to dispose of a number of assets both to realise income and to reduce on-going maintenance costs.

“The land in question is being presented to auction, and as such, it will be for the buyer to determine how to proceed.

“The purchaser will have to follow the usual process in terms of planning and a consultation exercise will be undertaken following any application.”

While the future of the site is currently up in the air, residents will have a much clearer picture following the auction on December 6.

 

By Lee Wild