Community ‘up in arms’ over Mossley land sales

Campaigners fighting to prevent the sale of two plots of land and preserve them for community use claim Mossley is being “ruthlessly exploited because it is a decent place to live”.

The site at Spring Street

And Tameside Council is accused of seeking to destroy the fabric of the town by its actions.

Local politicians have been warned protestors could register their anger by voting against them in future elections if the sites are not saved.

Tameside Council expect to receive a £100,000 plus sum from the sale of land at Spring Street plus Greaves Street and Cross Street at the Pugh Auctions in Salford on October 17.

Mossley Town Council has applied to list both sites as assets of community value.

Two public meetings have been held by SOCS (Save Our Community Spaces) since notice of the sales first broke earlier this year.

A group of residents also attended the September meeting of the Town Council.

More than 3,000 people have signed a protest petition with many letters of objections sent to Tameside MBC.

Governors at Milton St Johns School have written to express concern over traffic problems caused by possible re-development in an already busy residential area.

There have been victories with Cosgrove Gardens on Carrhill Road and the community orchard on land abutting Stockport Road being removed from developers’ clutches.

Negotiations are taking place with TMBC to hand them over to the community.

But the fight goes on to save the remaining plots of land. Houses on one side of Spring Street were initially compulsory purchased in the 1980s.

Locals at the community meeting last month

SOCS campaigner Dave Jones told the Correspondent: “The community is up in arms about this situation; aggrieved that legitimate concerns and objections were rejected.

“The Council now say that no further objections can be considered and Jim Fitzpatrick is currently holding the line ‘my decision is final’.

“At a recent public meeting a unanimous decision was taken to demand that the decision is reconsidered and that the sites be taken down – supported by all local councillors, the Town Council and Jonathan Reynolds MP.

“The Town Council has submitted Community Asset Transfer applications – but at the date of this email no one will tell us exactly when a decision will be taken on these.

“So, as it stands, the Council – in the face of 3,000 signatures from local people in a petition of protest, in the face of loud and legitimate objections, under protest from elected councillors and our MP and with over 300 new houses already under development in Mossley – is proposing still to sell two pieces of land to developers in order to make short term financial gain.

“The town has had enough. It is already overdeveloped and the infrastructure simply cannot cope.

“There is no vision at work here, no overview of what is happening to this small old mill town.

“The town is being ruthlessly exploited because it is a decent place to live.

“These two pieces of land are highly valued by the community – one offers one of the best viewpoints for miles and is a focal point for the whole town.

“The other is a valued community space in cramped terraced streets where people have little or no space – on a hill that is already plagued by serious and dangerous traffic issues.

“They are urban green spaces for people, not more and more houses. The Council is seeking to destroy the fabric of the town – its heritage, its culture and its history.

“It’s morally wrong to sell off these spaces. If done, Mossley will soon be just one massive housing estate with two roads running through it.

“The town is standing up for itself and trying to prosper but the Council is trying to literally pull it from under us.

“There is huge opposition to this. It is wrong and it was always a short-sighted and ill thought out decision.

“Local people are standing up to the Council and the Council must listen and respond.”

In a joint statement Mossley’s three Tameside Councillors, Jack Homer, Tafheen Sharif and Jack Homer said: “We remain committed to the retention of the space at Spring Street and the maximum public open space at Stockport Road-Greaves Street.

“We are very willing to work with residents groups to find ways in which these sites can benefit the community as the same time as alleviating Tameside Council’s need to reduce costs and provide extra income.

“We support the initiative of the community asset transfer and would like more time to assemble a plan with the residents to take this forward.”

Despite the impending sales residents are urged to lobby Tameside Council bosses and MP Jonathan Reynolds by writing letters of protest and emailing them to: jim.fitzpatrick@tameside.gov.uk; robin.monk@tameside.gov.uk; jonathan.reynolds.mp@parliament.uk

AT the time of going to press the two sites were still listed for auction on Tuesday, October 17.

The land at Greaves Street/Cross Street is listed as lot 51 of 63 with a bottom guide price of £30K and a top price of £40K.

Spring Street is lot 59 and the guide price is £40-50,000.

A Tameside Council spokesman told the Correspondent: “There have been applications to have several sites designated as an Asset of Community Value and these are being processed.

“However, applications for ACV status do not necessarily prevent Tameside Council from selling a piece of land.

“In last year’s budget consultation, 79 per cent of people who responded were in favour of selling council land to maintain and safeguard frontline services.

“We are considering all options but no final decisions have been made yet.”

In a letter to a SOCs campaigner, Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick, chief decision maker, insisted: “I have considered all the objections to the sale of Spring Street and have now made the executive decision to sell the plot of land at auction.

“I accept you are not happy with my decision but if you feel I have not carried out the correct procedure in arriving at this decision you can appeal to the local government ombudsman.”

 

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