CAMPAIGNERS fighting to prevent the sale of land at Spring Street, Mossley, have been offered a lifeline.
After the plot failed to sell at auction, when it didn’t meet its reserved price of £40-£50,000, Mossley town councillors have succeeded in having it included in a list of Assets of Community Value.
That means campaigners have a six-month stay of execution from November 4, when the listing was confirmed by Tameside Council, to find a way of preventing it being sold in the future.
However, they have only six weeks to make an expression of interest to purchase the site and six months to conclude a deal with the local authority.
Adrian Bailey, a member of SOCS (Save Our Community Spaces), described the news as appearing to be a “positive step”.
He said: “When we received our last correspondence from MP Jonathan Reynolds he mentioned that if ACV status was secured, which it now has, hopefully it would provide a community led alternative to a sale.
“The six-month moratorium will end at the same time of the local elections and maybe fielding a protest candidate may be an option or we could try and buy the land.”
SOCS member Dave Jones had earlier remarked: “The town is already over-developed 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.”
The land on Spring Street, once occupied by a row of terraced houses, is now a car park and landscaped area.
SOCS’s campaigners argue it is unsuitable for development due to the congested nature of housing in the area and the close proximity of Milton St John’s Primary School raised safety issues.
They pointed out Mossley is already well developed and small pockets of land like Spring Street should not be built on unless it is critical to do so.
It was earlier this year that Tameside Council took a decision to put several green sites in Mossley up for sale to raise monies. After a large community campaign – leading to the establishment SOCS – all these were taken down from auction. Some people thought permanently but in fact it was only while objections were considered by the council.
In August the land known as Cosgrove Gardens on Carrhill Road and the Community Orchard were removed from auction indefinitely. It was viewed as a positive step.
However, the sites at Spring Street and Greave Street/Cross Street were put back up for auction in October causing uproar with SOCS organising a public meeting and 3,000 people signing a petition.
All Mossley councillors, the town council, town mayor Cllrs Chris Lyness and MP Mr Reynolds also opposed the sale of the land.
When the two plots went to auction last month at the AJ Bell Stadium, Greaves Street/Cross Street sold for £40,000 while Spring Street was withdrawn after failing to reach the reserve price.