Only last week, Salford Council put out a press release titled `Call to turn grey Salford green', featuring Assistant Mayor for Planning, Councillor Derek Antrobus, urging residents to back an excellent campaign by The Royal Horticultural Society which rails against four and a half million front gardens (one in four) being completely paved over.
The Society states that the move towards 'grey' Britain increases the danger to homes from flooding as well as being bad for wildlife, and Councillor Antrobus added that "This campaign recognises that people pave over front gardens to provide parking space but shows how you can combine that with planting to help green the grey.
"If people can plant up their front garden or put out a few pots it will slow the amount of rainfall going into the drains and lessen the risk as well as providing havens for bees, butterflies and wildlife" he urged "It will also makes the environment more attractive which is good for everyone."
At the same time that this press release was issued, an advertisement was posted on the Council's joint venture Urban Vision website for the sale of the controversial green field land on Hilton Lane in Little Hulton.
The land was formerly used as playing fields for the nearby St George's RC High School, until it was rented off to a local sheep farmer (for background see here). It is also next to Peel Holdings' Burgess Farm, scene of a planning battle a few years ago with residents who wanted to keep it rural (see here).
"We are pleased to be instructed by Salford City Council to offer for sale this residential development opportunity, comprising surplus detached school playing fields and adjacent former grazing land, extending to some 16.4 Acres (6.64 hectares)" states the advert "The property enjoys an attractive rural aspect in this well regarded residential location. It is considered suitable for residential development, subject to obtaining the necessary planning consent."
Salford Council is also proposing to `dispose' of green land at Hill Top Moss in Walkden, for housing. The Moss is attached to Blackleach Country Park and, despite a protest march by the community and a petition with over six hundred signatures, the Council seems intent to go ahead with the sale...
"Once this Moss is gone it's gone" says resident Julia Patterson "That's what everyone's fighting for..."
At the very same time as urging residents not to turn green Salford `grey', the Council is selling off its own green land to concrete over. And these huge spaces are more than a few paved gardens.
• For more details of the fight to save Hill Top Moss see previous Salford Star website feature – click here – or the latest print edition of Salford Star