Upon hearing of new proposals to build houses within the depot area of Buile Hill Park, the local music legend behind the much beloved Salford Music Festival, Mr Ed Blaney, has come out fighting by launching a fresh petition to finally put an end to the idea once and for all.
Earlier this year the Salford Star revealed that there were proposals being drafted that would have seen 60 houses built within the grounds of the grade 2 listed park, with part of the income from those homes going towards renovations and the eventual re-purposing of the former Mining Museum that has been left abandoned and in a state of decay since its closure in 2000.
In its hey day the museum attracted over 28,000 visitors a year but sadly was forced to close due to budget cuts.
A previous petition by Lynda Curran earlier this year attracted over 2,900 objections from angry Salfordian's opposed to the housing plans, after a huge public outcry on social media, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett was forced into a last minute u-turn less than an hour before a heated public meeting was to take place.
In his statement he declared that no PRIVATE homes would be built within the park. The meeting went ahead regardless and just like at the packed out public meeting held earlier that month, the proposals were overwhelmingly condemned.
Local developers Capita & Centric who were behind the initial proposals, have since worked with a group formed at the meeting as well as with the friends of Buile Hill Park in order to try and find an alternative use for the site that would allow for the mansion house to be restored.
Sadly however, after months of talks and a well responded public survey to try and formulate an alternative plan, C&C have suggested that the only real viable option would be to build affordable rental homes on the site. A proposal that has expected, been met with anger and opposition.
However, local Councillor Paul Wilson who has been against plans for housing since day one, has disclosed that the Mayor has still to respond to a proposal for an NHS hotel from another developer interested in the land.
Speaking on a post on the Salford Online group on Facebook, Paul said...
"The developer who wanted to build the NHS hotel is still waiting for the City Mayor to return his emails and calls; this option is not off the table."
"I’m not sure why the City Mayor is only speaking to C&C and ignoring communication from other developers!"
Paul was extremely vocal in his opposition to any housing being built upon the park at all, favouring the land being used for leisure purposes for the benefit of everyone in Salford. His colleagues in the area were totally in agreement.
Regardless the proposals put forward by C&C at last weeks public meeting were to build approximately 60 homes to be made available for affordable rent to the elderly and disabled within the grounds of the depot area as well as the location of the current banqueting suite which would be relocated within the mansion.
Image Copyright: Capita and Centric
Despite C&C's Tim Heatley's insistence that the new homes would be in-keeping with the parks agricultural aesthetics and small 'beautifully designed spaces' with 'high quality architecture, the proposals were met with a mixed reaction with many left feeling angry and one lady declaring she felt conned.
Local campaigner and ex councillor Mary Ferrer has tirelessly spearheaded the community group and was not happy at all with the latest proposals, speaking at the meeting she made clear that her preference would be for a land swap for land outside of the park.
Whatever happens something needs to be done to stop the building falling further into disrepair as so many other historic buildings in Salford have, there have been calls on social media for the Council and Mayor to get behind the table with the community group and C&C to negotiate a land swap that would make both parties happy and breathe new life into the park and mansion for future generations of Salfordian's. Something we wholeheartedly agree with and back.
As far as any housing within the park goes, it's hoped that with this latest petition it will be the final nail in the coffin and send the message loud and clear that the community does not want ANY housing built within the perimeter of the park.
Capita & Centric have said that if there was an overwhelming public opposition of the proposals they would walk away.
And so step forward Ed Blaney, the founder and front man of the very successful Salford Music Festival. Ed, is a proud Salford lad and no stranger to campaigning to save his City having in the past successfully fought against proposals to change Salford's political boundaries.
It is hoped by both ed and campaigners that this latest petition will take the proposal of houses on the park grounds off the table once and for all.
Peel Park has recently been renovated and the same should apply to Buile Hill. I really hope this does not happen. More could and should be done to prevent any kind of housing being built on that or any other public park.
Main image Copyright: Salford Voice