SOCS it to them! Communities come out fighting over land sales

COMMUNITY GROUPS opposed to the sell-off of Tameside Council owned land will fight on despite initial campaign successes.

Locals at the SOCS Mossley meeting

A new action group – Save our Community Spaces (SOCS) – has been formed amid fears early victories may only be temporary ones.

Those concerns heightened with the sale of one piece of Mossley land that did go ahead at last month’s Pugh Auctions in Salford.

The 0.79 acres site at Nield Street, off Lees Road, had a top guide price of £30,000. It sold for £191,000

A second plot off Stamford Road, Heyrod went for £22,000, which was £17,000 more than the top listed guide estimate.

Four other sites – Cosgrove Gardens, Greaves Street/Cross Street, Stamford Road and Spring Street – were withdrawn from the auction.

One of the banners at Spring Street

An application to make Spring Street an asset of community value has been submitted by Mossley Town Council to Tameside Council.

Sandra Stewart, TMBC Borough Solicitor and Executive Director Governance, subsequently confirmed receipt of the application.

She told Mossley Council: “Peter McCaughley, principal solicitor, will be leading on this, to enable a decision to be made within the statutory framework of eight weeks.”

The stay of execution, if successful, is expected to be up to six months and for residents to submit proposals on how they can take ownership of 862 sq metres site and prevent its disposal to private developers.

To raise the profile a new action group, SOCS was formed at a public meeting held at St John’s Church last month.

It proved a highly charged gathering with outgoing Mayor of Mossley, Councillor Gregory Brett, particular vocal in his defence of Mossley and its land.

“Now is the time people. Mossley’s community spaces are under threat of sale by Tameside Council,” he said.

“I say enough is enough let us join together and protect our land – OUR LAND. Make no mistake, this land has only been taken off sale temporarily – and once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Many attendees signed up to support the campaign with Reverend David Warner, Vicar of Mossley, saying: “There is nothing quite so important as space where the community can come together.”

A spokesman for SOCS said: “The Council will definitely be reviewing the sites again due to the ongoing austerity the it is facing. A timeframe has not yet been indicated.”

Mossley MP Jonathan Reynolds supports opposition to the sale of Spring Street.

In an email to the protestors he wrote: “The pressure on local government finances following extremely harsh government cuts cannot be over-estimated.

“But none the less, on rare occasions, some land is of greater value to the community who use it than it would be translated into increased budget for much needed services.

“I have urged them (TMBC) to permanently reconsider its disposal. I will keep communicating with the people of Mossley and let you know of any further developments I hear.”

If you are interested in joining SOCS or just want to keep up with what’s happening in your town, email: socs-mossley@outlook.com

 

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