A natural, green regeneration of Spodden Valley
Date published: 28 May 2010
In 2004 woodland in the Spodden Valley was felled in an act that precipitated the Save Spodden Valley campaign. In the six years since that destructive act there has been much controversy about the planning application to build luxury homes and a children's nursery on the asbestos site, an application which has since been withdrawn but could be resubmitted at any time.
During the stand off between the Save Spodden Valley campaigners and MMC Estates 'Mother Nature' has been at work and the scarred landscape of 2004 has self-seeded and 'healed' the land, with new mixed broadleaf woodland - true regeneration and the start of a 'green lung' for Rochdale.
The three photos in the accompanying gallery (right) are of Woodlands Road - the site of where hundreds of trees were destroyed on the weekend of 15 May 2004 - the event that sparked the "Save Spodden Valley" campaign and the Turner Brothers controversy regarding asbestos health and safety. The photos, taken on exactly the same spot on Woodlands Road over a 7 year period, show three distinct stages: 2003 woodland, 2004 clear-felled and now in 2010 the new trees and shrubs.
Jason Addy of the Save Spodden Valley Campaign says: "The 2010 photo, showing the remarkable transformation, marks the 6th anniversary of the Save Spodden Valley campaign.
"This particular area was earmarked as 'Plot 5' in the developers plans for luxury houses opposite what is now known was an asbestos dump. Countryside Properties announced Plot 5 was pulled from their plans in 2005 before the withdrawal of the planning application in 2006.
"There are other areas that will require engineering solutions to ensure any asbestos fibres remain locked in the ground. Research indicates that 'soft end' amenity use is the best option for such contaminated land.
"There remain doubts that the land can be remediated in a way that guarantees the site as completely and permanently safe to be used for family homes with gardens that children play in."
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