Origins of Dane Bank Green Space (2016)
The DBGS Campaign Committee was formed 1st July 2016 following a public meeting with local residents and stakeholder groups. There were major fears and concerns about Tameside Council’s plans to enter into a partnership with Wainhomes to develop up to 200 new homes on the Windsor Road Fields in Denton, Tameside.
At that time, the Council was seeking to meet national and local targets for new house building and wanted to raise a significant capital receipt from the sale of land in its ownership.
Our campaign focused on the loss of land that was designated as Protected Green Space and the consequential adverse impact that a housing development would have on amenity open space and wildlife habitats, exacerbated by traffic generation and higher pollution levels. Furthermore, an additional 500 residents would place place undue demands on already over-subscribed health services and local primary schools.
Community Support (2017)
The DBGS Committee led widespread local opposition to the development proposal, acting in the best interests of the 7,500 residents on the Dane Bank estate. The campaign was ramped up and sustained throughout 2017 and early 2018 with fund-raising events, newsletters and public meetings coordinated and managed by more than 25 active Committee members.
Design consultants were appointed by the Council and Wainhomes to meet with key stakeholders, including DBGS. The consultants were instructed to draw up a Masterplan that would deliver the Council’s vision for residential development, protecting the cricket and football clubs but sacrificing stables, grazing fields and the Dane Bank Angling Club.
Local residents were not convinced and the Masterplan was vehemently rejected at the Council’s public consultation meeting. The Committee collected well over 700+ objection letters from concerned residents.
The Battle Is Won! (2018)
Early in 2018, the Council reviewed its housing development strategy and finally agreed to abandon its plan for new homes on the Windsor Road Fields. The decision to retain the status of the fields as Protected Green Space was communicated to the DBGS group at a meeting with ward councillors Brenda Warrington and Mike Smith in May 2018.
Furthermore, there was an agreement in principle that the Council would work with all stakeholders to improve the green space for sport, leisure and amenity, protecting the environment and wildlife habitats. These objectives could be achieved through a reassignment of leases on the Windsor Road Fields which would help local groups to bid for funding to help deliver their business improvement plans. The decision to negotiate a new set of leases was confirmed in July 2018.
Working With The Community (2019)
The Council’s positive and constructive approach presented DBGS with an opportunity to reinvent itself as a proactive community group leasing land from the Council to achieve its ambitions.
The DBGS Committee was determined to continue its work to protect and enhance the open space, promoting environmental awareness and education.
Earlier this year, a proposal was submitted to the campaign team with a view to adopting a new mission statement and a smaller, more focused Committee.
At a DBGS Special General Meeting in March 2019 the revised Constitution was agreed and a new DBGS Community Group Committee was elected.
A New Vision
The Community Group has adopted a new remit to promote and deliver the vision it has for improvement of the Windsor Road Fields. The Community Group wants to remain active and move forward with plans to protect the site, promote bio-diversity and introduce new activities that will benefit local schools, families and community groups. The intention is to focus on environmental awareness and education, health, welfare and wellbeing.
The Community Group has been granted a Sublease by the DBGS Charity that has secured a 25-year Headlease from Tameside Council and is now working closely with the Dane Bank Angling Club, Tameside’s People 4 Wildlife Group and Kids Go Wild Forest School. The new partnership reflects common goals and environmental concerns and the four organisations will work together with the Charity to deliver their respective visions.