Of the 3 councillors I contacted 1 replied immediately and one after they’d attended the planning meeting.
As to what they said…
Both councillors made the point that the development was part of the Restoration Masterplan for Heaton Park agreed by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund some 12 years ago.
“This part of the park was designated as a Sports Zone in 1998, at the behest of English Heritage Lottery Fund as a condition of providing a substantial grant for renovation of the park to bring it back to its original condition. This included the removal of bowling greens and tennis courts from within the view of Heaton Hall, to be relocated to this site. The bowling greens were established there with a clukbhouse from funds for the Commonwealth Games and this latest application completes the promise to provide tennis courts again.”
One of them also noted that they’d visited Heaton Park for over 50 years and…
“would not tolerate any ‘eating up chunks of land’. The Council are mindful of the prestige of the Park and indeed are the very ones who care for and look after the Park. The Council would not tolerate any misuse of the land.”
As to the objections the councillors said,
“I have to tell you that I have received more comments in support of this application than opposed to it. Most of the objectors come from the Prestwich area of Bury, despite their own Council supporting the application on the grounds that they need increased facilities of this nature in their area.”
“For information, Planning only received 14 objections for Hr Blackley residents.”
Obviously, if people aren’t aware of how to complain that tends to reduce the number of objections. However, it’s perfectly clear that the time to object was in 1998 when the original agreement to renovate the park was made. Would we have objected then? I think the answer is probably not.
The only problem I see is whether my definition of “misuse” of the park would be same as the councillors.
So, let’s see what happens with the park and whether the councillors, and future councillors, follow the line they say they will.