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The value of protecting recreational space at Roughfields

Just on the edge of the Hadfield and before you get onto the expanse of the Peak District is Roughfields. Leading nicely onto the Longdendale Trail and used extensively by dog walkers, children and the occasional drone flyer, it is a recreational site which is appreciated by local people.

However, it is also listed on the 2016 High Peak Borough Council local plan as a potential neighbourhood development. And although it does not currently have any planning applications pending for the site it could potentially be developed in the near future.

I wanted to add some context on why it should not be developed or could even be slightly improved.

Balancing the ever-increasing housing needs with people’s emotional and physical requirements for access to green spaces is a regular planning consideration for many local councils. However, I would argue that building on Roughfields would be a mistake. Although we live on the edge of the Peak District much of the land is farmed and this means recreational spaces near towns are still vital even in rural areas.

Hadfield already struggles with a lack of decent infrastructure and this problem would only be exacerbated by more house building without first taking a proper look at High Peak transport links. Anybody in the area lives with the frustration of driving towards Manchester and hitting the almost permanent traffic jam on Mottram Moor.

To me it does feel as if Roughfields is being left by the council. When I asked about hiring the football pitches I was told that they had not been used for years due to the slope and encouraged me towards another area in Glossop. The council also confirmed that a fortnightly cut of the grass was the only management of Roughfields currently undertaken.

I wonder if the council are just leaving Roughfields in the hope of minimal objections if a planning proposal is put forward. There are other options. For example High Peak Borough Council could apply for funding to enhance the site with a few trees or wildflower meadows. Wildlife from the trail and the Peaks may stop over on migration or when escaping from the harsher elements of winter.

Overall I would argue that this piece of public land is much more valuable being kept as a green space than being converted to housing.

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