Innovation? Opponents claim Ashton Moss plan will be more like destruction

REPLACING Ashton Moss with a planned innovation park will be a disaster for wildlife and the area’s ecology, one man who will be personally affected by any work has claimed.

John Seddon has seen changes in the area closer than most, his Droylsden home backs on to the open land changed forever by the construction of the M60 motorway.

The view from his back garden once spanned out across the entire area, with the town of Ashton-under-Lyne clearly visible, along with local landmark Hartshead Pike.

Today, his fence is bordered by a huge mound of earth moved when the carriageway was put in place – the furthest he can see is about 10 yards.

John Seddon
The former view from John’s garden

Now plans to remove what is now known as Ashton Moss West from the Green Belt and build Ashton Moss Innovation Park are being discussed – with Tameside Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) involved.

They say it will ‘offer a benchmark in modern industry. A beacon of digital and health manufacturing, Ashton Moss will be a place where things are made.’

But Mr Seddon has warned of the catastrophic impact that would have. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

John, who has lived in Droylsden for 34 years, said: “If they build on it, they will get rid of the Moss. People say life changes but it can change a bit too much and we can lose valuable things.

“Look at the wildlife the Moss has. What happened was the dumping of millions of tonnes of earth while putting the motorway in devastated anything that was on it.

“When I first came here, I could hear hundreds of lapwings – the lot was wiped out by it but since then the land has regenerated itself. Hundreds of trees and bushes must’ve come up and the birds and other wildlife has started coming back.

“I’ve seen them just over the fence – whatever development there is will wipe them out again. It’ll be so sad if wildlife like that gets destroyed – beautiful animals that are coming back to within touching distance.

Ashton Moss Innovation Park

“The countryside can regenerate itself, concrete can’t.

“There’s a lot of opposition to this – everyone I’ve spoken to has said ‘No, we don’t want it’ and I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘There might be a job for me, my son or my daughter.’

“People love the place.

“But sometimes you can’t get your word out and the voice of the other side cannot be heard unless there’s a ground swell of opinion that says, ‘We aren’t having this?’

“Some around here who have farming land could’ve sold it off on plenty of occasions but they won’t – they want to keep it like it is.

“But Tameside Council has agreed the GMCA can go ahead with this in our borough, knowing it’s Green Belt land. They could’ve said, #we’re for it but we’ll find somewhere else’ but they just gone for it.”

Talks are ongoing with the 10 owners of the land that makes up Ashton Moss as options over how the innovation park should look.

Those for it claim it could create thousands of jobs for Tameside but John, who has organised petitions against developing Ashton Moss, believes the focus should be on reusing existing buildings first.

Wildlife on the Ashton Moss site

The 75-year-old added: “It’ll never bring thousands of jobs, it may bring a few but look around, look at the centre of Droylsden, it’s shocking.

“All the empty units there aren’t being taken up, so why would they take these up? Use something that’s already there – there must be some sites that can be used. Units in Droylsden aren’t used, why can’t they bring them up to scratch and use them?

“I’m sure they could do better with the money. Droylsden is prime for redevelopment, it seems to be left out. It’s been forgotten about.”

Cllr Jack Naylor, Tameside Council’s executive member for inclusive growth, business and employment, is in no doubt Ashton Moss Innovation Park will boost the borough – both in terms of employment and housing.

He said it will ‘bring unprecedented benefits to the local economy by creating jobs and attracting talent, cutting straight to the heart of our ambition for inclusive growth across the borough.’7

He added: “The development’s framework is vital to ensure opportunities are driven forward and to realise the site’s potential.

“This framework is a significant step forward.”

Leader of the council, Droylsden Councillor Ged Cooney, added: “It’s the right site, it’s been there for a long, long time and I welcome this initiative, it’s about time.

“I’m pleased for the borough. It gives us that innovative business area we needed. Ashton Moss covers Ashton, Audenshaw and Droylsden but it’s to the benefit of all of Tameside.

“Don’t just think it’s an Ashton initiative. It’s an employment area for the whole of Tameside.”

30 Replies to “Innovation? Opponents claim Ashton Moss plan will be more like destruction”

  1. John is doing a fantastic job. As a resident that backs on to the Moss it will be the destruction of the habitat for a wide range of wildlife let alone the disruption, noise that this development will generate. The Moss is huge and I cannot for the life of me imagine why it needs to come anywhere the residential side .
    We keep being told re wilding is so important these days, this is de wilding a place where people enjoy the peace and tranquility of a place of nature that came from the rubble of the M60.
    Councilors of Tameside and Mr Burnham, I invite you to come and sit in my garden and take a walk round the Moss with me and see the senselessness of what you are trying to destroy.

  2. This is absolutely wicked, the disruption and destruction to the ecology of Ashton Moss would be devastating. The bird life alone from Herons to Woodpeckers – has a survey of the wildlife been conducted? Surely it’s obvious that this would only contribute to climate change problems and that preservation of green belt land has never been more important. Especially when so much else is available that could be repurposed.

  3. We have lived overlooking Ashton Moss for 35 years, in that time we have enjoyed the open aspect of the surrounding countryside. Then following the extension of the M60 in which we had years of heavy and noisy construction vehicles dumping all sorts of materials on the moss, this resulted in a huge mass that obscured our view and disrupted the wildlife. The site was planted with various trees and shrubs which is now filled with an abundance of wildlife. The proposed development of the site is an abomination, all it will do is line the pockets of people who have no regard for anything except profit. Leave Mother Nature alone for goodness sake, all you ou are doing is killing the environment and eventually you will kill the planet. Idiots all of them.

  4. This area should be designated as a protected area given the significant amount of biodiversity and retained as amenity space for the neighboring residents.

  5. I believe they should use all the empty units in Droylsden town centre. People watch the wildlife and take their dogs out for a walk on the Moss and it should be left alone

  6. We totally agree. It would cause devastation to the environment and wildlife. Stop destroying green belt and concentrate on developing the the town centres.

  7. Plenty of units available at Trafford Park for commercial business, this is the last bit of countryside in Aston moss and it’s full of wildlife and a beautiful space for everyone to explore.
    At no point should this land be built upon, !!

  8. TMBC need to concentrate on redeveloping our run down Ashton/Droylsden. Taking away the wildlife and the trees will only contribute to our air quality becoming poorer. Generations to come will have to walk around with oxygen tanks as we become a concrete jungle with no greenery to be seen!
    Tmbc should be ashamed!

  9. John is doing an amazing job. As an individual who lives within the Moss area and feels deeply saddened to learn of what may become of it. Tameside Council should focus on improving Droylsden and Tameside facilities which have been left to run down and leave our countryside land alone. As this will only lead to the disruption and deterioration of our wildlife that live upon the moss including owls, squirrels, Hares and Deers in the winter. Then, deforestation leading to poor air quality. Many people who live within the local area walk on the Moss to look at the wildlife or to walk their dogs. At no point should this land be built upon and the wildlife be destroyed from their natural environment. Tameside council should be ashamed. Furthermore, the Moss is one of the reasons as to why I purchased my house to be closer to wildlife and the countryside area.

  10. The incessant urbanisation of Greater Manchester comes at a price. Ashton Moss has been an iconic part of this area for centuries. As well as attracting a variety of wildlife – frogs, hedgehogs, heron,deer, to name but a few, the Moss serves as a well needed boost to the mental well being of the people of Droylsden. To destroy one of the few remaining green sanctuaries of Greater Manchester is a travesty.

  11. Leave the Moss well alone. It gas already suffered with the construction of the M6O. It is a beautiful space for nature to thrive and the opportunity to plant more trees should be taken for cleaner air and wildlife to thrive

  12. Why is this being allowed? Ashton moss is slowly being overtaken, there are plenty of empty units in the area including the concord suite which is being left to ruin, use these buildings instead & leave the wildlife alone!
    The traffic in and out of the area is already an issue with all the extra building being undertaken we don’t need more strain on the roads!

  13. A small oasis in the middle of mayhem! I’ve had 3 kingfishers in my garden this year, a family of deer within sight & the tranquility of birdsong.
    I’ve lived in the area 25 years & may the pleasure of it continue & be made something more to take pride in by the borough, rather than destroy it
    I remember when work was being undertaken,, the earth was being transported from the stadium & being dumped on the site. Work had to be stopped as an endangered newt was found.
    The wildlife that could be destroyed beggars belief
    Well done John Seddon for working tirelessly on this

  14. Totally agree. John is doing a great job. This area should be kept as a green belt. There is lots of other areas for business units to be built. Tameside council should be ashamed of themselves.

  15. I find it hard to believe that Tameside council want to destroy such an area where an abundance of wildlife exists and people take pleasure in walks around the area. Why the council cannot re-use buildings that are empty I have no idea and want to spoil Ashton Moss forever is abhorent to me.

  16. I thought we were all suppose to be trying to save the planet, not destroying it like TMBC seem hell bent on doing.
    Giving wildlife and plantation a chance to survive, replenish and establish a better environment producing better quality air for all.

    It’s a pity the town planners and council officials of Tameside have not heard about saving the planet, they only seem to know about clean air when it affects motorist, because that’s where they make money, beneficial to them, not residents and the wildlife of Droylsden.
    This proposed development will destroy the natural habitat that has been formed since the last destruction of Ashton Moss, from the M60 build.
    This development we are told will bring jobs for Tameside, not necessary for Tameside residents, this will bring more traffic to an already congested small town. Producing more pollution and further damage to the environment and planet.

    The question is are the people making decisions to destroy this natural habitat of Ashton Moss going to specify only Tameside residents need apply for the jobs they claim will be on offer, to keep pollution low, I don’t think so.
    Do any of these destroyers live in the area, I don’t think so, they probably live in leafy Cheshire or some other greenbelt area.

  17. I write in support of all those, in particular John Seddon who has been campaigning for years, opposing the Ashton Moss Destruction plan.
    It is appalling, that those who continue to live and contribute to Droylsden life and its economy feel ‘voiceless” with TMBC’s success being measured by ‘tick box’ communication exercises serving to be woefully dismissive of public opinion.
    I would ask that Droylsden/Tameside Councillors be mindful that north west voters are conscious of government backed white elephant projects promising much i.e. regeneration and employment, with their exorbitant planning costs and delivering nothing!
    The opposition to the Ashton Moss Plan, is not about ‘nimbyism’ and more about the loss of natural space enjoyed by wildlife and those that travel far and wide to enjoy it. It is also a cry for help to TMBC and Councillors to get behind regenerating the retail and leisure centre of Droylsden which has been allowed to become almost ‘ghost like’ – Droyslden folk deserve better!
    I have noted the suggestions that other respondents have made re: alternatives ie., the use of underused/vacant industrial spaces within the area and opportunities to support small businesses and promotion of employment opportunities – TMBC, please listen!

  18. Tameside council have been telling us all the different things they are going to do with Ashton moss for many years, I remember going to see plans that involved a 9 hole golf course what happened to that ? Why are we not allowed our small space of green belt to keep droylsden a nice place to live in, and not what it’s becoming today. The picture of John’s back garden many years ago is very sad, don’t let it happen to others.

  19. We have lived in our house now for 28 years and bought the property because of the wonderful views and walks around the countryside area, enjoying the wildlife and fresh air. Recently we have had to endure the construction of horrendous gantries along the railway that has completely spoilt the view across the fields in Littlemoss. Now it appears that new industrial units are being considered on Ashton Moss,, which now surround the estate. We, as many other homeowners, feel that Droylsden residents are being treated as second class citizens within Tameside and we completely support John in his campaign to keep Ashton Moss ‘GREEN’

  20. Shameside. Only councillors want this, it’s to distract people from the reality that they are ill equipped to deal with existing economic and housing challenges facing the local area.
    As a society we should be thinking about environment, using the vast array of existing retail and industry space. Repurposing existing buildings will bring in lots of trade, protect local history and culture, whilst providing good opportunities for many younger people. We have many local colleges supporting students with practical hands on trades!
    Future generations will work in technology but you’re not going to attract those profiles into the area as the education gap is significant. It’s time to think about long term growth.
    Its about time the local authorities see past quick wins and truly tap into the needs of the local community.

  21. Sheer greed from TMBC. The development is not required in our area.
    As mentioned on numerous replies there are plenty of other areas that could be developed or redeveloped in the Tameside area.
    As residents we have already been subjected to poor air quality, pollution, poor drainage in our gardens and constant noise that M60 extension has brought. Please leave the moss and the wildlife that it brings alone. Total unnecessary, we stand with John.

  22. I agree. Redevelop and use the empty units in Droylsden town centre and leave the green space as it is. This is a lovely place to safely walk dogs and see lots of wild life including foxes, badgers, deer, heron and lots more.

  23. While it is good creating jobs etc, the bus services are dire to get to Ashton Moss. I have worked there since 2013 and bit by bit services from my area to Ashton moss were cut. I have to travel into Manchester and back out again on the 216 and takes me 2 hours to get there from Levenshulme. It used to be a lot easier before they cut the 168 and 169. The 7 service is always late or doesn’t turn up. Ashton Moss is a bleak and lonely place, leave it to the wildlife.

  24. TMBC this has to stop. !!!! There are so many areas around Droylsden that can be used. Do something with the centre of Ashton and Droylsden first before looking anywhere else.
    We walk on the Moss daily and it’s a beautiful area for mental health and to get away from it all. People need this as nowhere else to go.
    But more importantly where is the wildlife going? Think of the bigger picture not just about making money ????

  25. Residents should take note when voting regarding the councillors who support this development I am aware councillors are yes men and must not be seen to rock the boat so no support there. There is no reason Angela Rayner can not put are case forward under the governments new Green development plans. Will Droylsden tax payers have to stand the cost of removing all the tons of rubble who received the money from the developers for offloading tons of concrete foundations on a proposed golf course and why did Tameside not police this bad practice.
    If this development is passed you will then see notices go up explaining for the next 12mths Rayner lane will be closed due to excavation access and there will be no tram service due to lines being covered to protect any damage from vehicle access and excavation work. We have empty buildings Tameside could use the Town Hall ,The Old library , The Concord suite what we do not want is another Grey Lego building the land owners have been for years trying to get there money back on this land and make a profit ,and a green wooded area will not make money.

  26. I would just like to say it is such an unforgivable act to build on such a lovely dog walking area and wear you can take your children to see a veriaty off wild life. There are 4/5 ponds teeming with wild birds and frogs and all sorts of insects that need these areas to survive. If could find another area to build, by leaving ashton moss alone you would be doing a lot of people a great favour, so think and ask is it a good thing you are doing

  27. If Droylsden residents really want to keep Ashton Moss West green raise a petition this proposed development will go ahead if Tameside can find a construction company to partner there plan and costs.
    Tameside should buy this area take the fencing down and allow nature to carry on.
    With an election year ahead all residents concerned about this development should inform Angela Rayner MP of there written protest and request she as a meeting with Andy Burnham to put forward residents requests to keep this part of the moss untouched. email. as soon as possible now is the time to force the towns wishes regarding Ashton Moss West or you will lose it for sure.

  28. The issue here is the 10 land owners will all want a return on their investment and tmbc are never going to buy this land to then have to spend on it to maintain it without any return. It’s appalling this will be lost I walk my kids and dog up there often and it feels like a peaceful sanctuary away from the city. I hope there is a report done on the wildlife here and the impact this will have hopefully we can find an angle to stop this abomination of our nature. As many others have said I bet very few jobs here end up for local people. TMBC please hear our concerns

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