Manchester City Council has changed its original popular open space proposal, but there is still opposition to what City Hall intends to build.
Residents at a protest organized by the Save Hough End Fields campaign
The dispute between residents and Manchester City Council over plans to redevelop the Hough End Playing Fields green space shows no signs of ending.
The town hall has revised its plans for the South Manchester open space and says it has adapted its ideas for the site after consulting with locals earlier this year.
The campaign group Save Hough end fields conducted a survey earlier this year to gauge opinion on the proposals.
And although some of the unpopular ideas have now been scrapped, the results suggest that there is still considerable local opposition to what is left in the council’s plans.
What are the plans to redevelop the Hough End playgrounds?
Hough End Playing Fields is the city’s largest open green space and is widely used by the community for recreation and recreation as well as sports clubs.
A 10-year strategy project presents a vision for a mix of artificial and turf pitches, turfless cricket wickets, new educational and recreational facilities as well as a new cafe at the Hough End Recreation Center, grounds for Gaelic sports and a aeromodelling area.
The document qualifies the current sports fields and changing rooms as “poor” and says it wants to develop a better quality sports venue while still maintaining an attractive public space for people to walk around and relax.
The 10-year strategy also includes work at Chorlton High School South, upgrades to Broughton Park Rugby Club facilities and a natural open space community area.
A pre-application planning consultation on the revised domain proposals closed on Friday, December 10.
The town hall must now examine all the returns before making a decision on whether to pursue a new planning request.
What is the Save Hough End Fields campaign group and what are its objections?
Save Hough end fields was set up earlier this year and is made up of residents who oppose the council’s plans to redevelop the site.
Before the council withdrew its original plans in July, a petition against them had some 2,500 signatures, while about 2,000 people responded to the planning consultation.
In the summer, the group surveyed over 200 people to ask for their opinions on community redevelopment ideas.
Some of the hugely unpopular proposals, such as a softball and baseball complex that drew 85% opposition among survey respondents, have now been dropped.
However, 80% are opposed to artificial football pitches, 83% are against the creation of a parking lot with more than 150 spaces and 91% do not like the removal of trees in the device.
Only 11% of those surveyed said they used the grounds for organized sports, with the most popular activities among those surveyed including walking, bird watching and just spending time in nature.
The group said that for those they mentioned, the most popular reasons for rating the site were the peaceful nature of the outdoor space for relaxation (88%), to experience wildlife and the environment. natural (76%) and the view of the skyline and sunrises. and sunsets (63%).
What did the campaign group say about the survey?
The group said they support the council’s overall goals of promoting healthy and active lifestyles, but disagree with this as plans for the Hough End playgrounds are the right way. to proceed.
Ali Abbas of Save Hough End Fields said: “The results of this survey show the importance of the Hough End fields to the communities of southern Manchester, not just the sports teams playing there.
“It is clear that having this unique open space for exercising, meeting friends or just enjoying nature plays a vital role in supporting people’s mental and physical well-being, even more so during the pandemic with a restricted access to sports and leisure facilities.
“It is therefore not surprising that there is such strong opposition to proposals to replace open grass pitches with fenced synthetic turf pitches and additional parking, and in particular to cutting down trees and loss of wildlife habitat. “
Peter Lythgoe of Save Hough End Fields added: “We support the council’s stated goal of getting more children active. But in a climate and natural emergency, it is totally irresponsible to do so by replacing grass and trees with plastic and concrete, and encouraging more car trips, which will increase carbon emissions and air pollution.
“For the sake of the health of our children and the survival systems of our planet, we call on the council to withdraw their ill-advised plans and protect our precious green space.”
What did Manchester City Council say?
A Manchester City Council The spokesperson said: “The Hough End Playing Fields facility improvement proposals aim to put the community at the heart of the goal of creating sustainable, high-quality playgrounds and open spaces that promote health. , people’s happiness and well-being.
“We have listened carefully to the campaign group’s comments and understand the concerns they raised. The new proposals – around which the last consultation ended last Friday – ensure that sustainability is a central part of the project and was designed to be low-carbon standards, as a council priority.
“We put nature-based solutions at the forefront of the design approach. For example, 3G slots will be designed to provide a cork filling system. This will be the first natural infill solution that will be offered by the FA through the framework of the football foundations nationwide.
“As a natural product, granulated cork is a renewable raw material derived from cork oak bark from sustainably managed sources.
“And we’ve reduced the overall development footprint – following community feedback – to limit the impact on the larger green space.
“We have received a lot of positive feedback from schools and local teams who are excited to start using the site for educational and athletic purposes. At present, many local schools and teams do not have adequate facilities for school sports, training and athletic activities. With the new proposals, they will be able to use the land on a daily basis and will not need to leave the area to access the appropriate facilities. .
“The latest proposals have sought to carefully balance campaigners’ comments and concerns, while also investing in improved and much-needed facilities in Hough End.
“We believe we have maintained this balance and we thank everyone who has participated in the various consultations so far.”