Yesterday, Swinton residents defied the cold and legal threats from Bellway Homes to hold a Santa protest in Campbell Road against the chaos caused by the building of 241 houses on formerly green land.
Bellway's solicitors wrote to the Saving Our Neighbourhood group, which represents residents, threatening injunctions unless it gave a written undertaking that it would not "(a) obstruct and/or attempt to obstruct Bellway's right of access to the Site; and/or (b) otherwise interfere and/or attempt to interfere with Bellway's legitimate commercial interests."*
A giant Santa and postbox were erected next to the site, and children posted letters saying what they wanted for Christmas...for Bellway to 'be gone'.
"We are here today to make a democratic peaceful protest about the things that are going on at this site; specifically we are saying that we have the right to do this and no matter how many threats we get from multibillion pound developers we are going to exercise our legal right to make a peaceful protest" explained Carol Boyce of the Saving Our Neighbourhood group.
"People are coming today with letters for Santa about what they would really like Bellway to give them for Christmas, which basically, at a minimum, is another access because this single access is not working, it was never going to work and it will never work" she added.
"Only yesterday there was a vehicle involved in an accident right at the bottom of Thorn Road where it meets Folly Lane" she said "The vehicle hit the bollards in the centre of the road, and we have heard that it was the Ceremonial Mayor; which was interesting because we tried to talk to him at the last Council meeting. We were telling him from the public gallery that we weren't being listened to about how much of an issue this single access is, and how much of an issue it's going to be when we have up to six hundred extra cars on this site.
"When it's occupied, Bellway is going to extend the pavement by another eight inches out into Folly Lane so people can get better visibility into approaching traffic" she added "But that is going to make that road even narrower and it's going to turn it into a chicane basically, when it's already massively over trafficked."
As the children were posting their letters, there were Christmas carols playing, and mince pies and hot tea on offer... "We are standing here in the freezing cold and pouring rain, and that's how strongly this community feels about what's going on here" Carol concluded.
One of the letters pinned up on the site railings was a plea asking for a 'Christmas miracle'...
"We have lived here and brought up many generations in peace and safety" it stated "The the roaring monsters moved in and destroyed our homes. They ploughed up the land and tore down our trees and left us with nowhere to go. Please Father Christmas make the monsters go away..."
It was signed 'All The Wildlife'.
For a full background see previous Salford Star article...
As Bellway Homes Threatens Injunctions and Fines, Residents To Hold Santa Protest – click here