Local community finally beat developers
Residents now own the Mill Pond

Monday, 11 December 2006

Residents of Windsor Road, Windsor View, Spring Grove and the surrounding areas of Hebden Bridge breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday 6th December when the Old Salem Millpond was saved from the threat of inappropriate development. A local resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, successfully bought the land at an auction held last Wednesday at Manchester Airport, bringing to a close a chapter in the Millpond’s history that began with Green Tops Ltd., a ‘development’ company based in Todmorden and fronted by Mr. Richard Broome, obtaining the land in late 2003.

Chainsaw Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Green Tops then attempted to use any means necessary to bully the community into accepting their plans, including the incredible events of ‘Chainsaw Tuesday’ in October 2004 where local residents, trying to stop the felling of trees on the site protected by a group Tree Protection Order (TPO), were physically assaulted by ‘security guards’ hired by Green Tops.

The first demo - September 2003

During the last three years the ‘Keep the Millpond Green’ group, drawn from a diverse range of Hebden Bridge residents, has been campaigning against Green Tops’ plans for the land. As a result the community has successfully had the land designated as ‘green belt’ in the new Calerdale Unitary Development Plan (UDP) even though Green Tops had insisted the land was ‘brown field’ and therefore suitable for development.

After the refusal in February 2006 by Calderdale Council of Green Tops’ controversial plan to build 10 ‘eco-homes’ on the Millpond when a record number of objections were received (117) and the last-minute withdrawal of Green Tops appeal of that decision in October this year (when they realised it had no hope of succeeding), Green Tops put the site up for public auction at Manchester Airport last week. After a tense round of bidding the local resident secured the Millpond for the community.

To celebrate the protecting of the Millpond residents of Windsor Road, Windsor View and Spring Grove gathered on the site on Sunday to plant a young oak tree. To recoup the money they paid for the land the local residents plan to start fundraising activities and to sell shares in the Millpond by forming a publicly limited company with a charitable purpose that will have an open and transparent agenda to preserve and conserve the area for generations to come as a public green space that is a valuable, ‘wet woodland’ habitat for wildlife and plants.

The Keep the Millpond Green group wish to thank all the Hebden Bridge residents who showed their support, gave their time, signed petitions and took part in fundraising activities, such as the Kulu benefit night at The Trades Club in January 2005. Together the community has achieved our primary aim of stopping development on an inappropriate site in Hebden Bridge and preserving green space for the use of the community. The future will see the Millpond enhanced and an alternative path to Hardcastle Crags restored.

Residents celebrate by planting an oak tree

Donations to fund the purchase of the land are welcomed, and participation in the company to manage the land is encouraged. Contact us by emailing greenmillpond@yahoo.com or by calling Michael (843 378) or Louise (845180).

See also:

Keep the Millpond Green section of the Hebden Bridge Web

We try to make sure that the Hebden Bridge Web news is correct, but if you are aware of any errors or omissions, please email us

If you have comments on Hebweb news please make a contribution to our discussion forum

More news from the Hebden Bridge Web