Campaigners battling to save various land sites in Mossley as community assets have stepped up their fight against Tameside Council.
The latest public meeting, organised by action group, Save Our Community Spaces, was held at Mossley Community Centre last Friday.
Two plots of land SOCs are battling to keep – Spring Street and Cross Street/Greave Street – have been listed for auction by TMBC at the Pugh Auctions on Tuesday, October 17 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
SOCs have now issued a statement over the issues and are appealing for more public support.
They say:”After a large scale community campaign – leading to the establishment of a new community group called SOCS [Save Our Community Spaces] – all these were taken down from auction – some people thought permanently but in fact only whilst objections were considered by the council.
“In August, Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick took an executive decision. The land known as Cosgrove Gardens on Carrhill Road and the Community Orchard have been removed from auction indefinitely and a dialogue has begun as to the how they can be passed to the community with local people managing and maintaining them. This was the good, positive and morally right part of the decision.
“However, there was another very contentious part of the decision. The sites at Spring Street and Greave/Cross Street have been viewed very differently and have now been put back up for auction in October.
“This has caused uproar in the community, and led to SOCS calling a public meeting on Friday 22nd September. Over 100 people turned up to vent their anger and disgust at what they believed to be the dismissal of their legitimate concerns and objections – nearly 3000 people signed petitions against the original plans.
“A unanimous decision was taken to launch a SOCS led campaign to have the executive decision on Spring and Greave/Cross Street overturned and this has now commenced.
“All Mossley councillors are backing the campaign, as is the Town Council and the Mayor. Community Asset Transfer applications have been submitted to TMBC by the Town Council on behalf of local people.
“It is the intention of SOCS to have the sites removed from auction for a period of 6 months to allow for renegotiation. Jonathan Reynolds MP has also pledged his support in a letter to Council Leader, Kieran Quinn
“…on paper the public interest may appear to lie in the disposal of these sites to secure an income to support local services, but I think we have to recognise there are other benefits to urban green spaces that cannot be conventionally measured – including the emotional, physical and mental well being of members of our communities. I would ask therefore, notwithstanding the tremendous fiscal limitations placed upon us by the Government that further reconsiderations be given to these plans”
“The first stage of the campaign will see local people writing to Cllr Jim Fitzpatrick to raise objections and concerns and he has just been invited to another public meeting along with Jonathan Reynolds MP to face Mossley people directly on these issues.
SOCS member Dave Jones says:”The town is already overdeveloped with hundreds more houses to come, and the council persists in trying to these small urban green spaces from under our feet.
“Well, we’ve had enough – the town is saying NO. We want these spaces back – they are our valid community spaces – we will look after and maintain them and safeguard them for generations to come.
“We will look after Mossley for Mossley people. These are just red lines on a map to some people but this is our town, our home and our community and we are fighting for it.”