Residents in battle to save Nutsford Vale green space from proposed development
- Friends of Nutsford Vale country park in Gorton are trying to stop proposed development plans to build school
- NQ speaks to Bernie Cree of Friends of Nutsford Vale about their community campaign
Nutsford Vale country park is under threat of development as Manchester City Council is under growing pressure to build more houses and schools to accommodate a growing number of people moving to the city.
This means brownfield areas such as Nutsford Vale in Gorton are being built upon, with little regard as to the health, safety and livelihood of both the local wildlife, such as foxes and water voles who will be moved from the area, and residents' lives.
Manchester City Council, local charities and community groups, such as the Friends of Nutsford Vale, have spent the past six years investing not only three quarters of a million of taxpayers’ pounds in the land but time, effort, and love and care into creating a wildflower meadow, footpaths and a community orchard, all of which was formerly a rubbish tip and toxic waste site, riddled with crime known locally as Jackson’s.
Gorton councillors including Peter Cookson have put forward their concerns for the plans resulting in the loss of a 'substantial part of the country park'.
NQ spoke to Friends of Nutsford Vale’s Bernie Cree, who lives two streets away from the park: “Originally it was just wasteland, it was full of dumped cars, and it wasn’t safe to go on. But the Friends of group have put so much time and effort into it, we ourselves maintain the land alongside the council. Next May, the Friends of group will be 20 years old, we’re committed, and we have been committed to the area for a long time.”
Bernie said she uses the park to take her dog for a walk every day, but runners, walkers and a school for children with mental health difficulties also use the space.
With the area due to be developed into houses and a school for 1,200 students, residents are unhappy with the plans. They say there are already 11 schools within a ½ mile radius of the park, with some only partially occupied and some also only just finished being built.
Levy Clean Air conducted air monitoring within the area, and found that pollution was already high and in some cases, double the legal annual mean limit of nitrogen dioxide. This is without the introduction of a new school, potentially more traffic, and the destruction of another green space within urban Manchester.
Our air monitoring showed huge pollution on Matthews Lane already and whole of Levy is choked with traffic - no more #pollutedplaygrounds in Manchester! @ManCityCouncil @RahmanCllr @SirRichardLeese @basat_m @AngelikiStg pic.twitter.com/0OKjl0jVUN— Levy Clean Air (@LevyCleanAir) 11 November 2017
Though the council's highway department states that the potential for more traffic may lead to congestion within the area, they also suggest a travel plan for the school can 'mitigate the effects to an acceptable level'.
Bernie said: “We were thinking of having a demo. It’ll be open to the public.”
A petition has been created to help stop the building of the school on Nutsford Vale.
Update (12/01/2018): A spokesperson for Manchester City Council have stated that: “Planning permission has been deferred until further notice, pending a site visit”.
In response to this, Rita Edge, Chair of the Friends of Nutsford Vale said: "Having the planning decision deferred means that the Committee will see first-hand what a gem they will be destroying if the plan goes ahead, along with our concerns about the insufficient roads which are already full to capacity at school times. Maybe they will realise that we are not complaining for complaining's sake and a bit of common sense will prevail."
Update (08/02/2018): During the latest planning meeting at the town hall plans to build the 1,200 capacity school on Nutsford Vale were agreed on despite ongoing protests by residents and volunteers of the park within the area.
Suzanne Richards a Longsight councillor objecting the plans to build on the park said: “This school won’t be the heart of our community...it will rip the heart out of our community.”
With many more councillors adding their concern that other sites more suitable had not been investigated.
The application at this time has therefore been accepted pending any further action from the government.
More details to come.