A Salford councillor has spoken out against plans to build 1,400 homes on Chat Moss.
Cllr Lewis Nelson, ward councillor for Cadishead, says the plans for new housing on the land are “in the wrong place and in the wrong number”.
Cllr Nelson said: “What we see Chat Moss as is our local history and heritage.
“Chat Moss has been there for millennia and has been somewhere that generations of Irlam and Cadishead people have enjoyed for walks and bike rides and to see the wildlife and what we’ve got on our doorstep.
“My own reflection of Chat Moss is it’s our place of peace. It’s where you can get away from the stresses of life and just belong somewhere. This is why the great majority of people in Irlam and Cadishead are fiercely in defence of it.
“Local people have been fighting since 2016 to protect the Moss.”
Cllr Nelson says the value of land such as Chat Moss has become more evident to residents in 2020.
“It means so much to the local people and particularly during lockdown it’s been immensely valuable for local residents,” he said.
“Once it’s built on it will be gone forever, and I think that’s a terrifying prospect when we’ve got grade one agricultural land and only 5% of all agricultural land in the country is that grading.
“We’ve got all sorts of wildlife that you just can’t find in other parts of Salford or even Greater Manchester and once that’s gone, there isn’t another Chat Moss. There is nowhere else.
“I do acknowledge that there is a housing crisis, as a local councillor people come to me almost everyday who desperately need a house.
“I think the message for me on this is that, the allocation of these houses are in the wrong place and in the wrong number.”
Up to 1,400 houses could be built on the agricultural land as part of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework master plan.
Chat Moss, as well as many green belt sites in Manchester, could be transformed into new houses and businesses.
However, this has raised concerns with local residents, as many have stressed that the green space has been a ‘great asset’ during lockdown.
#shortearedowl @Hawkandowluk @BarnOwlTrust @ChrisGPackham @CllrAntrobus @lewis @KeeleyMP @LukePollard @SteveReedMP Salford’s Green Lung Chatmoss is bursting with bio diversity is under threat together with your help our community save it from bricks 🧱and concrete
— Cadishead&IrlamSavetheGreenbelt (@cadIrlsavegbelt) October 11, 2020
Alan Whitehead, a local resident and owner of Moss Farm Fisheries, said: “I’m one of those people that are all for sensible building, but I disagree with the mass scale housing they are planning.
“For about 14 to 15 years I have been badgering everybody, putting posts everywhere, we shouldn’t be talking about the houses on here and the fracking, we should be talking about getting a protection order put on the full Moss to stop all of this in the future.
“But all people talk about when it’s time for elections, is building building building all of the time. They forget about all of the other issues it has all year round – motorbikes and anti-social behaviour, as well as burning cars.
“There is nobody doing it just for the love of the moss and I put my hand in my pocket because I love the place.
“All they are doing is watching our history disappear.”
A petition against the development of Chat Moss can be found here.
@AndyBurnhamGM Boris will warn immediate action is needed to save wildlife and habitats
He said that ‘we cannot afford to dither’ because biodiversity loss is happening
He is promising to safeguard 400,000 hectares of land in next decade .Make sure Chat Moss is included
— Bob Speakman (@upwardsat45d) October 4, 2020