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OVER 4,000 SALFORD RESIDENTS OPPOSE HOUSES ON DUNCAN MATHESON PLAYING FIELDS
 

Star date: 25th April 2018

PUBLIC MEETING GEARS UP FOR OPPOSITION TO SALFORD COUNCIL

Tomorrow night, Thursday 26th April at 7pm, there's going to be a further public meeting at De La Salle Sports Club to reignite opposition to a proposed huge housing development on the Duncan Matheson Playing Fields, off Lancaster Road.

Over four thousand people have already signed a petition, as Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, seems to have done a u-turn, from originally opposing the development to supporting building on the playing fields.

Full details here...


Pauline Atkinson, of the Save Our Duncan Matheson Playing Field campaign is under no illusions...

"We need to stand up, and the whole of Salford needs to stand up en mass, descend on that town hall and tell them 'You're not on'" she says "I think that's what people should be working on, not just for this field but to maintain what we've got. We're going to have nothing. They've completely wrecked Salford..."

Around a quarter of the Duncan Matheson Playing Field, off Lancaster Road, is owned by Salford City Council, with the rest belonging to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester. And it was last year when horrified residents discovered that there were plans to build around five hundred houses over the whole site, via a'concept map'.

A public meeting was held in February 2017, actually called by local Claremont councillors, and over four hundred people turned up to hear politicians declare their opposition...

"We had a meeting with Rebecca Long-Bailey and the Mayor, and he said that he wouldn't allow any building on the field and that was fine" Pauline recalls "He actually did a statement...but there was a little rider saying he might allow some development..."

The argument was that if a certain amount of building wasn't allowed, Government inspectors would be brought in and they would allow the full development. But residents are having none of it...

"I know that if you allow one house to be built it changes the policy of the land, and they can start with, say, forty or one hundred houses but as soon as you've allowed that, other builders could come in" Pauline adds "So we said 'No', after we'd asked residents and explained the situation.

"We had a further meeting with the Mayor and Rebecca Long-Bailey last October, and the Mayor stood up and stated that he wouldn't be opposed to building houses on the Council land" she says.

The City Mayor doesn't actually have any power or say over planning (in theory), so shouldn't really be getting involved. But what about the local councillors? "If you read their flyers it states that they're doing this and that" says campaigner Steven Healey "But they aren't ..."

"They're supporting us by saying 'We want to save Duncan Matheson Playing Field' but they're not actually doing anything to support what they're saying" Pauline explains "I don't blame them to a certain extent because what I know of the Labour Party you've got to toe the line. But we're not for 'toeing the line' or being told what we should accept."

Behind the public posturing, Pauline says she's found proof that the Council has been in discussions with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester since 2015 and possibly before...

"We know that the Council looked at selling its part of the field in 2014 for development" she says "And we know that they checked it with their legal department, which said 'No you can't do that because of strict restrictions on use of the land'..."

She has also found a similar statement in the 2016 accounts for the Greater Manchester Trust for Recreation, the overall body for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester. It states "The trustees do not consider that the field has any significant value as yet, given the strict land use restrictions placed upon them"...

Indeed, there's covenants covering the fields, as well being green space, but it seems that both the Council and the charity are trying to find ways around it all, from not maintaining the land to charging rates, which alters agreements almost one hundred years old...

"In 2006, Salford did a Green Space Strategy and this area was classified as deficient in public access to recreation, while De La Salle and Duncan Matheson were classified as playing fields much used" says Steven "However in a new survey in 2017, Duncan Matheson and De La Salle weren't even included as green space.

"I stood up at Community Committee and asked 'When is a green space not a green space?'" he adds "They said it was 'disused'. I asked if it was going back in the Strategy and all I got told was that it's not been published yet. They won't tell me what's going on and that's totally wrong. This is a breathing space for the city that they're getting rid of slowly; we need more trees and spaces, not less."

No official proposal has been put forward yet for the playing fields but residents are gearing up for a huge fight. Already, over 4,100 people have signed a paper petition opposing development, a solicitor is on board and a fighting fund has been set up*. They are fighting on the grounds of everything from playing field and green space destruction, to harming wildlife, to pollution and potential traffic chaos...

"Salford is just being turned into a big building site and car park" says Pauline "We really do need to stand up and say 'You're not on!'...

Save Our Duncan Matheson Playing Field Public Meeting
Thursday 26th April 7pm
De La Salle Sports Club, Lancaster Road


For further details of the meeting see the Facebook event page – click here

For further details of the Save Our Duncan Matheson Playing Field campaign see the Facebook group page – click here

To help the fighting fund email info@sodm.co.uk

Democracy is worth fighting for wrote
at 19:19:29 on 30 April 2018
Couldn’t agree with you more Mary. This labour controlled council has let the buy to let market get out of control, this is destroying communities and the social fabric of society, creating a transient society, leading to the breakdowns of neighbourhoods. All this Labour council are interested in is making money for their already rich friends to get richer, but at our expense. When are we going to wake up and kick these useless bums out. Amazes me, we can see it, but the rest of the electorate can’t, to busy watching soaps or reality tv to see there being screwed by these spives and there whore councillors.
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 18:37:13 on 29 April 2018
Buile Hill Park is well used.to build houses slap bang in the middle of the park shows how thick our council are. Regarding Duncan Matheson playing fields,there have been groups over a number of years who have shown interest in using the fields for sporting activities,football being one. The owners have either not got back or have come back with a rental fee that was out of reach of any amateur team. The charity have gone out of their way to make sure this land has remained unused for years.To me that goes against their charity status.I also understand the council could build on their part of the field.They bought the land for sports activities a long time ago. They also have left it for years unused.If you look around the city there are loads of open spaces that are brown site to build on.No need to take our fields and parks. And what are the chances of all these houses being affordable. Total rubbish. And lastly, one of the main reasons young first time buyers are finding it hard to buy a starter home is down to the lower market properties (2 up to down terraced homes)are bought by absence landlords and turned into 4,yes 4 bedsits.In Claremont we have hundreds of family properties being turned into houses of multiple occupation. We need some form of law only allowing a portion of these properties per ward/city.Remote landlords don't look after their housed and the some tenants shall we say are not the best.
 
Ged Brough wrote
at 13:20:11 on 28 April 2018
Can somebody clarify the relationship between Salford Council and Urban Vision?I believe the council gives contracts to Urban vision for many area's of work the council cannot or do not want to do. Urban Vision is involved in planning, roads, evictions and probably others. Urban vision consists of capita and galliford two private companies. The point I am making is Salford being run by elected officials ie the mayor. Or by unelected private enterprise pulling the strings?If this is taken in context with the Salford star article last week regarding the mayors apparent half truths about developments costs and his change of mind about Duncan Matheson playing fields. Urban vision has an office in the civic centre and probably second staff from the council.Are the council capitalist in reality but socialst for us ..the electorate
 
Arnold Rimmer wrote
at 11:51:32 on 27 April 2018
@Phil, I don't think you're quite right with park usage. On any hot summer's day, you'll see every green space occupied. Take the lawns at the Civic, they get full of people, even though they are right next to a main road. The reason parks look empty is because, on less favourable weather days, the dog walkers, hikers and cyclists will just be passing through. It is still being used though, even though people aren't stopping.
 
Phil wrote
at 14:59:11 on 26 April 2018
Retired Socialist, my view of the world is that green spaces are all well and good, but I have noticed that in Salford, quite possibly as a result of the poverty of imagination and lack of any desire to do things such as go for a walk, that seems to be the mentality of many many Salfordians, these green spaces are often devoid of people. Okay, there is the occasional elderly dog walker, but that's about it. Quite simply, these places are underused to the power of ten. That being so, for the sake of the Council's coffers, it would be better if some of the green spaces were built on. The council now have their own development company, thus, for the good of its citizenry, Salford Council would be wise to build homes on places like the Duncan Matheson playing Field, and then rent them out for substantially more than affordable rents to whomsoever wants to rent them. Example. If the Council's own development company can build 1000 new homes, both houses and apartments, on a lightly used green space, then that will bring in at least one million pounds per year in council tax. Equally, those new council tax paying citizens will be buying from local shops. They will be going to either the Precinct, Swinton or Eccles. This will mean that shops will employ more workers. It is a win win situation. In The Final Analysis, if the few moaners who want green spaces to stay green spaces, and who decry the very thought of building homes on those green spaces as being sacrilegious, are serious in their bleatings ... then they should do what I do ... get up to Dovestones Reservoir or Rivington Pike, and go for a walk in the hills. They're just down the road, for crying out loud! Haven't you people heard of trains, trams or buses? You'll be their in an hour, enjoying GREEN SPACES. One last thing. Just another seven and a half days to the Local Elections. Pssssst! I predict a Labour clean sweep. Heh heh heh heh .... VIVA LABOUR!!!
 
retired socailst wrote
at 09:46:35 on 26 April 2018
What is your view of the world Phil? a stone clad drab world lacking in colour and vibrancy, where we all read the morning star under threat of imprisonment or camps to retrain, you sound like you would fit in well in north Korea perhaps you and Dennett could move there and you could kiss his arse for public show. I read with interest the shite Steve allows you to Publish and wonder what is your mental state I often wonder weather Steve allows your comments to lighten up the page because any one with a limited intelligence could not take you seriously.
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 09:46:07 on 26 April 2018
Phil,thank you so much for your wise words.Great,go forth and build.But not in our parks or playing fields.So you and the bloody mayor want us all to live in a concrete jungle.NO trees,no grass.Where do children play in the middle of your jungle. Well I for one will shout from the tallest tree in Buile Hill Park. HANDS OFF OUR PARK. AND HANDS OFF DUNCAN MATTISON PLAYING FIELD. Go build your unaffordable houses and apartments somewhere else.The council can't even get it right when it comes to planning fees and affordable housing.How many.affordable houses have been built in the last 3 years. Also how much has your mate the mayor collected in those 3 years. And last question what was it spent on.so next time you have a chat with Paul just ask please
 
cliveofindia wrote
at 09:46:01 on 26 April 2018
Even more bothered about Buile Hill Park - a far more serious intrusion into heritage public land that should be sacrosanct and freely accessible to all across the city and beyond. To be fair this is not the the situation with Duncan Matheson Fields. It might come down to choices. https://www.change.org/p/salford-council-stop-salford-council-building-houses-in-buile-hill-park-before-it-is-to-late
 
Gordon Mckenna wrote
at 21:43:21 on 25 April 2018
DO NOT BUILD HOUSES ON DUNCAN MATHESON PLAYING FIELDS ,It's there for the future of our Children.
 
Phil wrote
at 21:43:18 on 25 April 2018
We don't need anything green, Mary. What we need are houses and flats. We need properties for newcomers. We need new council tax payers. It will be good for Salford. For Salfords economy. New council tax payers = more people buying from shops = more jobs = prosperity for Salford. Just leave it all in the very capable hands of Mayor Dennett, Mary. He knows best. People, just get with the project ... Capice?!
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 19:03:28 on 25 April 2018
If the council go ahead and build one house on Duncan Matheson we can say goodbye to the playing field The same applies to Buile Hill Park. If houses /apartments are built on either site.NO park,greenspace or playing field will be safe.Reading this article the Mayor/council are saying what the people what to hear one minute,then in the next breath say the opposite. This part of Claremont has major problems with traffic issues. If they built 100 houses,that's another 200 cars on the road. The air quality is poor. What have light oaks school on Lancaster Rd. What about the inferstructior,Schools doctors the roads. And we all know if this went ahead, we are looking at a lot more than 100 houses.This is a playing field. Salford council bought their section for just that. The rest is also designated playing fields.If they are allowed nothing green will be safe in Salford.
 
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