Tonight we have had the fantastic news that, after three and a half years of fighting, Heritage Green in Caldershaw will become the first official village green in Rochdale Borough.
It was over three years ago that myself and Councillors Gartside and Holly initially blocked a Labour-backed plan to sell off this site without public consultation. This plan would have seen the site, which is used by hundreds of residents for a variety of recreational purposes, put up for sale as development land.
Shortly after calling in the decision we engaged with residents to help set up the ‘Friends of Heritage Green’ group which has worked tirelessly as the active force in bringing about tonight’s successful conclusion. The friends group have been a textbook example of how a well-formed group of local people can really bring about change and make a massive difference in their community.
The friends group have done an amazing job and have presented an excellent case for this piece of land to become a formal village green. Their efforts and unstinting commitment to achieve village green status have been truly herculean. It has been our privilege as local Councillors to actively support them all the way.
It has certainly not been an easy job but together we have demonstrated that although this piece of land looks like a prime site when viewed on a map, it is in fact totally unsuitable for any kind of development. Moreover it is a hugely valuable recreational site for local people and an invaluable piece of our borough’s green corridor.
Village Green status now means that Heritage Green has an official designation and is permanently protected from the threat of sale or development. Once again I would like to thank and congratulate the Friends of Heritage Green on an amazing victory for the people.