THE gates are open and the curtain is up on an area of green space that will be transformed into a facility for the whole community after a charity secured a lease.
Dane Bank Green Space has been given the chance to use the land off Windsor Road, close to Denton West Cricket Club, after private renter Ian Carmichael – who uses it for horse grazing – relinquished part of his agreement on the Tameside Council-owned site.
Now it is all systems go after an open day on Saturday, August 21 showed off what is planned and what it will be used for.
The Tameside’s People 4 Wildlife group will eventually use it as its base, once eight aviaries are constructed.
A lodge is planned close to one of the fishing ponds in collaboration with Dane Bank Angling Club.
And the Kids Go Wild forest school will use part of it as a classroom, working with nearby Denton West End and Dane Bank Primary Schools.
Dane Bank Green Space won awards from the People’s Postcode Lottery and Big Lottery for £17,000 and £15,000 respectively.
Now it has the 11,500 sqm site, new fencing has been erected while a track for vehicular access and a small car parking area will be constructed, with the aim of improving accessibility for disabled people.
Project manager Bob Rutt explained: “Phase one is getting a track in and making improvements.
“In phase two, we hope to get a lodge in next to the duck pond. That will be a feature but we’re talking 18 months to two years.
“This event was about people seeing what we’ve got, letting them appreciate what’s on their doorstep and telling them about what’s to come.
“In future, they’ll know it’s here. It’s going to keep us very busy.”
Local councillors Brenda Warrington and George Jones took a look around the site as Dane Bank Green Space laid on a number of activities, including rock painting for kids and a tombola, as well as demonstrations by Kids Go Wild.
Danny McKay of Tameside’s People 4 Wildlife was also on hand hints and tips on what animals could be spotted in the area.
And Cllr Warrington believes this handover is vital, saying: “In this area of Denton, we’re on the border of Manchester and Stockport and its very urban, very densely populated with houses.
“This is the only area of green space that realistically exists to people.“It’s always been privately leased as grazing land but they’ve agreed to give up part of their lease to the project.”
Being able to get on the site knowing it is theirs was a source of great pride to dane Bank Green Space.
Chair Kath McLoughlin said: “It was quite emotional when we got on. We were like, ‘This is ours.’ The things we will do will be fantastic.
“The lodge will only be small but we could hold events there and rent it out. The things we can utilise for the community and the plans are to do a lot more inclusive things.
“We can do so much, but that’s really just scratching the surface.”