‘AMBITIOUS’ plans to transform a treasured piece of green space in Denton have been unveiled to the public.
Realising the dream will cost more than a quarter of a million pounds.But members of Dane Bank Green Space (DBGS) believe their ‘from the community for the community’ project could help them achieve a successful bid from the Big Lottery.
And after successfully campaigning to prevent the site off Windsor Road being bulldozed for a large housing development, the group is optimistic-with community support-they can deliver a new vision for the area.
Working with Tameside Wildlife for People and Dane Bank Angling Club, DBGS aim to build a wildlife and well-being lodge, put down sensory and memorial gardens, plant trees and shrubs, erect a ‘bug hotel’ while ensuring the fishing ponds and site are accessible to all members of the public.
A newly-formed umbrella organisation involving the three groups is negotiating a long-term lease from land holders Tameside Council who are backing the project.Tameside Council leader councillor Brenda Warrington attended one of two public meetings at Denton West Community Centre when wider support was sought for the project.
“We want the community to tell us what they think about our vision,” said DBGS group co-ordinator Bob Rutt. “Feedback is really important.
“The place will be as successful as the community makes it because we are all volunteers.
“We know the council is behind us but we cannot get anywhere near where we need to be without funding.
“And the Big Lottery (through its Reaching Communities initiative) is probably the most appropriate door to knock on.
“We need about £10,000 to do the first stage of the work, to enclose it with fencing and to put in temporary track and temporary car park to begin the transformation.
“Beyond that lies the big one and we are talking a quarter of a million pounds.
“But we have held several meetings with the Big Lottery and the feedback is encouraging.
“The key thing is they want a project from the community for the community so we need all stakeholders to support us.
“If we can demonstrate we have that support, I think our bid will be looked upon favourable. We are nothing if not ambitious,” added Mr Rutt.
“What we are seeking to seeking to deliver are real benefits across Dane Bank and beyond.”
Fellow co-ordinator Kath McLoughlin confirmed: “This plan can be as big or as small as you want it to be. But it needs community to help out.
“It will only be open and accessible as much as people give back to us.
“Along this journey we have met some remarkable people and we have met lots of people who have helped us. We need that to continue.
“We have not got all he ideas but what we do we want it to be inclusive and accessible for everyone, regardless of age or ability.”
On plans for a lodge Kath added: “We know there are lots of studies about green space and how it can help with mental health whether that is physical activity or just relaxation. It filters out lots of different things.
“Just having somewhere to come along and have a chat is something all the community can benefit from.”
Norman Thurrell, president of the Angling Club, said: “We were a successful club until we got the announcement there was going to be a proposed housing estate.
“Membership dropped from 110 to 20 as people looked elsewhere to go fishing.
“Over last 12 months, however, we have increased numbers upto 45 and if we develop the land people will come back.
“Our ambition is to develop the field pond and make it into one big pond as opposed to three ponds we have had in the past.
“We also want access for the disabled because we have not got that at the moment. We also envisage toilet facilities and a first aid post.”
Moira Hanson, from Tameside Wildlife for People, added: “We currently work alongside other groups such as the High Peak Badger Group and the Fox Man.
“But we are looking for a base and this project is exactly what we are looking for.
“We want to pass on the importance of wildlife to everyone and we are looking forward to help get it off the ground.”
Moira’s own vision is to provide pond dipping for youngsters, a bug hotel, build a hide for photographers or artists wanting to study wildlife at close quarters and perhaps introduce bee keeping on site.
• For more information about the plans visit the website www.danebankgreenspace.org