Save Hough End Fields
Save Hough End Fields
Why this petition matters
Please sign to oppose the development of Hough End Fields that would see fencing, floodlights, astroturf, tree-felling, wildlife loss, parking extensions and so much more in our precious green space.
Please also donate to our crowdfunder to raise funds for our challenge to the council's plans.
Read on for the many reasons why we oppose this development:
Hough End was originally bequeathed to the people of Manchester by Lord Egerton under a covenant “not to use or permit to be used this area for any purpose other than as an open space and recreational ground for the free use of the public”. Fencing off of areas is not in the spirit of this original donation, nor permitted in the wording of the covenant; the proposed 3G pitches and the baseball/softball pitches would be fully high-fenced and for use by booked paying customers only.
It is an open space of land like no other where we can walk freely, alone, or with family and friends, and with our canine friends. We can breathe deeply, observe wildlife and watch in awe scarlet sunsets and (if we’re up :) magnificent sunrises. How the horizon looks is important to the human spirit and mental health and Hough End is one of the few local places where we can feel connected to big sky and extensive horizons.
Speaking to almost any local person we find that they, or somebody in their family or circle of friends, has used the area for sport. There is a feeling that this is our free and open space as it was for our parents and even our grandparents.
There is a specialness to the space being covered in real ‘living’ grass. So much of our city is artificially surfaced in paving stones, tarmac, astroturf and other ‘lifeless’ manufactured materials. The feeling of grass under our feet is natural and special. It is also good for our joints and there is much evidence that simply walking on grass promotes well-being in general (and especially during the pandemic!).
It is important that there be ample sports and leisure in our area, especially for our young people, but this proposal is, arguably, not offering more of that, but less. In addition, MCC themselves report that there is no current need for the proposal. The report from the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) on MCC’s Capital Strategy for Leisure Facilities (Jan 2020) ‘informed members that leisure provision was currently sufficient to meet demand’. Record of MCC minutes
An appropriate and thorough ecological survey has not taken place and yet there is evidence of extensive and endangered wildlife on site including pipistrelle bats (schedule 5 animals), starlings (RSPB red listed), hedghogs (species of principal importance), and tawny owls have also been heard and are likely feeding in the area. It is a no brainer that astroturf reduces natural grass, wildflowers and soil and with less grass and soil local wildlife will be impacted. Those wildlife corridors that diminishing city wildlife so desperately needs will be interrupted by fencing, tarmac, astroturf and tree loss as well as disrupted by the flood-lighting.
Manchester City Council has declared a climate emergency. For this to have meaning and not just be empty words it must translate into how our green spaces are treated and managed. There is no need for extra parking at Hough End as the site is well served by public transport. The extra cars will create more CO2 adding to the climate crisis. How soil is managed also affects the carbon it can hold. The manufacture of the astroturf and other materials is more carbon. In addition, the tree felling - more than a dozen including mature trees of 10-17m and an oak - adds CO2 into the atmosphere as well as disrupting the wildlife corridor by the brook, features that forward looking locals and Manchester Wildlife worked hard to create 30 years ago.
How wonderful if the £30 million that it is proposed be invested in this ugly proposal were channelled into grass-based sports and wild-space activities for our children and young people: perhaps with a play area for the little ones, adventure equipment for teenagers and more seating areas for the older generations. How wonderful if wildlife were regenerated rather than even further diminished. How wonderful if our elected representatives were to consult and listen to what local people want before bulldozing ahead with yet more profit-making-first schemes that are diametrically opposed to their official policies on community, climate and more. <3
We are a rapidly growing group of opponents to this proposal. We would love you to join us:
Facebook: Save Hough End Fields (private group)
Website: Save Hough End Fields