STOCKPORT COUNCIL TO MAKE DECISION ON DEVELOPMENT OF ‘VITAL’ GREEN SPACE
The fight to retain a historic green space and important habitat for rare species continues in Stockport, as Councillors met recently to discuss a planning application to build houses on Mirrlees Fields, made by MAN Energy Solutions (part of Volkswagen Group).
Whilst admitting that the buildings would cause ‘considerable harm’ to the local area, which has less access to open space than most of Stockport, planning officers for the council recommended that planning permission be granted to build 200 houses on a grassland area within the Fields.
During the meeting held at Stockport Town Hall on Tuesday 29th November, a representative for MAN Energy suggested that if the plan does not go ahead in it’s current form, Mirrlees Fields might be instead closed off to the public entirely, barring the local population from an area which residents use daily for exercise, social activities, and that many described as a ‘lifeline’ during the Covid restrictions.
Stockport Councillors expressed their concerns about the proposal, ranging from damage to the environment, to pressure on overstretched local services, to the difficulties of holding developers accountable for proposed sustainability plans. After hearing speeches both for and against the development, all seven Councillors present at the meeting agreed to recommend that planning permission be refused for the site.
However, the decision is still yet to be made by the council’s Planning Committee, and local community groups are gearing up to continue the fight for their beloved Fields. In addition, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and The Woodland Trust have registered their own objections ahead of the Planning and Highways Regulations Committee meeting on Thursday 15th December, where a final decision will be made. Meanwhile, over the past few days several people have been approached on Mirrlees Fields by representatives of MAN Energy and handed letters about the company’s plan to fence off the area from the public.
Situated close to Stepping Hill Hospital, Mirrlees Fields is the last remaining part of a much larger green space that only a few decades ago including a working farm and a golf course, and is now surrounded by residential housing and an industrial estate.
The Protect Mirrlees Fields from Development group have been collecting personal testimonies about what the Field means to local residents, as well as a launching a petition to save the Fields which has since garnered over 5000 signatures.
ABOUT MIRRLEES FIELDS
Mirrlees Fields is a green field site. It was farmland until about 1920 when it was adopted as a golf course and sports field for the employees of Mirrlees Bickerton and Day Ltd., until the Sporting Association was closed in 1986. Since then, the local community have had unrestricted access to Mirrlees Fields. In 2010 MAN submitted a planning application for a housing development on their factory site, and reiterated a desire to enable formal use of the green space for the benefit of the community.
ABOUT PROTECT MIRRLEES FIELDS FROM DEVELOPMENT GROUP
Protect Mirrlees Fields from Development was set up in June 2020 by a group of Woodsmoor residents in response to MAN Energy Solutions UK’s proposal to build 200 houses on Mirrlees Fields. Since then, they have engaged with local residents in Woodsmoor, Hazel Grove and neighbouring districts by distributing leaflets, creating posters, forming a petition, setting up a Facebook page, and liaising with local Councillors and MPs.
Follow Protect Mirrlees Fields online (Facebook link): https://www.facebook.com/groups/306143903937767/