A gig was held at the Chorlton Irish Club on 3 November to raise funds for the Friends of Ryebank Fields. The event was co-organised with the Chorlton and Stretford Socialist Club, a non-party affiliated group for those who self-identify as being on the left. The main purpose of the gig was to raise money for further campaigning and leafleting, and we raised £320. The evening started with talks from Nigel Woodcock, Paul Harnett, and Julie Ryan.
We have submitted an application on behalf of the Friends of Ryebank Fields to have the section of Manchester’s historic Nico Ditch, which runs through Ryebank Fields, listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument by Historic England. Another part of the ditch in Platt Fields Park is already listed as entry number 1015132. As it stands the ditch in Ryebank Fields is already deemed to be a “nationally important but non-scheduled monument” and therefore any works in its vicinity already require consultation, but listing would give it greater protection from the threat of development, as all plans would need the approval of Historic England.
Back in late 2017, Manchester City Council launched a consultation on their plans to redevelop three sites in Chorlton. The results were taken to the Council’s Executive meeting in July 2018 and you can read the full report here. Whilst the consultation solicited views on the development of the former leisure centre and shopping precinct this blog post only considers questions and proposals relating to Ryebank Fields. The Friends of Ryebank Fields are extremely concerned that the consultation was biased, seeking views on what the housing development should look like rather than whether it should exist in the first place.
As the nights draw in and the memory of summer fades, the Friends of Ryebank Fields campaign is enjoying an unseasonable flowering. Local magazine Trafford Community News has covered our concerns and the success of our community picnic event on 2 September. Source: Trafford Community News We were heartened to be featured alongside fellow local green campaign the Breathe Clean Air Group. They are welcoming the news that Peel Energy are now unlikely to build their proposed biomass heat and power plant in nearby Davyhulme.
Ryebank Fields is a 4.6 hectare patch of open land in Chorlton, south Manchester. Once empty pasture land, it was dug up by the local brickworks and its clay pits later filled in with rubble. The land was later gifted by the council to Manchester Metropolitan University as playing fields. The site has been left vacant since 1996 and has re-wilded itself into a mosaic of natural habitats.
Local ornithologist Pete Hines has been delighting and educating Friends of Ryebank Fields with his photos and sightings of birds on our cherished wild space. Many locals have been amazed at the diversity of bird species who call the fields home. Sparrowhawks, chiff-chaffs, rooks, meadow pipits, and house martins have all be spotted, reminding us that the fields are already inhabited even without the proposed housing development. Source: Pete Hines
The Friends of Ryebank Fields celebrated the August Bank Holiday weekend by bringing together around 150 people for a community picnic. The sun shone on residents of all ages, and some extremely handsome dogs, as they met friends old and new and enjoyed the wild green space. Labour councillors Eve Holt and John Hacking came along to listen to the views of residents and show support for a meaningful engagement. We gathered lots of signatures for our petition and even raised some money for the printing of our fabulous posters.
The Friends of Ryebank Fields are grateful to Mark Pivaro for designing these fabulous posters for their campaign. The posters build on the identity and success of the neighbouring campaign to Save Turn Moss. We are sure that residents of Chorlton, Firswood and across south Manchester will once again clear a space in their windows to show the world how much we value our green spaces. Campaign poster If you’d like to get hold of a free poster in A4 or A3 size they are available at Chorlton Bookshop on Wilbraham Road or by request from Nigel Woodcock on the Friends of Ryebank Fields facebook page.
The Friends of Ryebank Fields are calling on neighbours and green space supporters to sign their petition calling for the land to be given back to the Council rather than used to develop houses. We hope that you’ll take a few moments to understand the reasons behind this petition and how it differs from other ideas being floated. The Friends of Ryebank Fields are a broad church and value the space for a huge variety of reasons.