“Confusion, frustration and deep anger” has greeted Tameside Council’s plans to again try and sell off a plot of top Mossley land.
But dispersal of the Spring Street site will not take place until 2018 after Mossley Town Council applied for a second time for it to become a site of community asset.
Any future decision could coincide with the Tameside MBC and Mossley TC elections in May.
And residents opposed to the sell-off are planning a public meeting on Monday, September 11 at 7.30pm, venue to be confirmed as the Correspondent went to print.
Despite disappointment at the decision taken by TMBC Councillors, John Taylor and Jim Fitzpatrick, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Save Our Community Spaces (SOCS) action group.
Land at Carrhill Road (Cosgrove Gardens) and Stockport Road will not be sold. Instead it will become a community asset. The current community orchard off Stockport Road will also be retained.
However, land at Greaves Street – the scene of a recent community picnic – and Cross Street will proceed to auction.
The Town Council has also submitted a CA application for these two sites but has been told more evidence of community use is required before this can be confirmed.
The Spring Street site was also due to go to auction but this has now been withdrawn following the move for community asset status.
Dave Jones, a leading member of SOCs, said: “There is some confusion, frustration and deep anger and upset at the Spring Street decision.
“Having had so much support from so many local people it is critical that we continue to fight for what we feel is right and just.
“SOCs is therefore organising another public meeting to pull people together, to provide people with full information, to hear what our elected representatives have to say and make a plan of action.”
Last month the Correspondent reported how Nina Vanessa Smith successfully pitched and won £545 on behalf of SOCs from the second Mossley Soup crowdfunding dinner.
She said: “I feel disappointed we have received money from Mossley SOUP to forward the three sites and they are talking of selling them again.
“It would be terrible if they sell Spring Street as this is an essential safety issue for the school.
“In the morning at school time parking is essential and the car park at Spring Street was built with this in mind.
“The community garden is looking great and is being well used by everyone around the area. It is a real shame to lose it.”
Defending the decision Tameside MBC said: “While is is accepted the land has been conveniently used on a frequent basis by a variety of people for different activities, given its proximity to other excellent amenities which can be and indeed are used in this way, it is not accepted that local residents will be disadvantaged by the Council no longer maintaining the land.
“Nor is it accepted the Council should be obliged to maintain and resource that land in the light of business case or exceptional reason to retain.
“The objections do not appear to provide an overriding reason why the Council should retain this piece of land and continue to have occupiers’ liability and responsibility to maintain and insure.
“It is not considered that any of the objections submitted and summarised are sufficiently material when balanced against the competing fiduciary interests of the wider community to warrant the continuation of the Council holding the land as trustees.”
The Council also said: “The Council has been through seven years of austerity with 2017/18 being the eighth year of reductions in funding.
“These pressures mean it is important the Council releases land to enable the growth of the borough through much needed housing and opportunities for business while reducing the cost of property assets.”
Mossley’s Tameside Councillors, Jack Homer, Tafheen Sharif and Frank Travis issued a joint statement on TMBC’s proposals.
They said: “We are really pleased, that through the efforts of the community and by people coming together, we have been able to achieve a favourable result on Cosgrove Gardens and a potential compromise on the Stockport Road – Greaves Street site.
“However, we are of course disappointed Spring Street is to go for sale.
“We will, as before, give our full backing to the new application for community asset status for Spring Street, and will continue to support the community in looking at how best to achieve this within the time frame.”