Buxton residents battle to save green space from being sold off for housing

Residents living near to a precious Buxton green space are fighting council plans to sell off the land for a 124-home development.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 3:44 pm

People living on and around Hogshaw Villas Road say the 17-hectare recreation area - known simply as Hogshaw - has long been the centre of a close-knit community who “look out for each other”.

Many of those whose homes border the site - also known as Hogshaw Nature Reserve - have no gardens and dread losing the community resource and the access to the outdoors it provides.

And while younger children would lose play equipment on the recreation ground, the former tip has also been the scene of significant rewilding in recent years.

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Litter pickers come together to keep Hogshaw, a much-loved green space, in shape. (Picture taken before the pandemic)

Much of the old disused industrial site has regenerated to scrub and secondary woodland and is now home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Two brooks bound the site - Hogshaw and Nunn - have become regular stop-offs for herons and there have been regular sightings of the sub-aquatic dipper and the grey wagtail.

Jacky Palmer, 54, founder of Hogshaw Nature Reserve campaign group, told how the land was a crucial “safe space” for teenagers to meet and the elderly to walk.

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Sunny Hogshaw: this photo was was taken by local naturalist Mark Cocker

The mum-of-one, who has lived on Hogshaw Villas Road since 2007, described Hogshaw - bordered by allotments, homes and the railway - as “a little oasis”.

She said: “We’re a very close-knit community all living close to the field - if there’s ever any trouble we deal with it as a community.

“If this is allowed to happen it’s going to change the place so much - that green space is so important because none of us really have gardens.”

As well as the loss of a crucial green space residents fear the traffic increase that comes with 124 new homes will badly impact on air quality.

Jackie Palmer walking at Hogshaw with dogs Mabel and Rosie

And they also worry remedial works to decontaminate land at the site of the old tip will have a knock-on effect on the environment - even affecting the water supply.

Buxton Civic Association, urging people to oppose the housing plans, say Hogshaw is “a great example of nature recovery”.

They add that the area helps combat the loss of species as part of the wildlife corridors linking Fairfield Common, Corbar Woods and Lightwood to the town centre parks at the

Serpentine and Pavilion Gardens.

High Peak Borough Council has allocated Hogshaw as well as land near Granby Road on the other side of the A6 as part of its local plan to meet Government housebuilding targets.

Access to both sites - delivering 675 new homes - will be served by a £2 million roundabout together with access roads at Fairfield Common.

The council says Hogshaw is “in a combination of private and council ownership”.

However they add: “It needs to be brought together into a single ownership in order to deliver a comprehensive scheme of new homes, supported by appropriate open space and play facilities for new and existing residents.”

Hogshaw Nature Reserve campaign group have started a petition opposing the scheme which has so far attracted over 1,800 signatures.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.