TVís John backs village green fight
Reporter: KEN BENNETT
Date online: 17 October 2013
TOP television personality John Stapleton is supporting his home village in a fight to retain a treasured village green.
The award-winning presenter and journalist is backing the Diggle Community Association’s bid to protect land that has been a recreational space for more than 90 years.
He has offered his support to villagers fighting a move to develop the site on Huddersfield Road for housing.
Planning approval was granted by Oldham Council for First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) to build two houses on the site, but the plans are on hold pending a decision over the association’s application to register it as a village green.
When presenter John — who grew up in Spurn Lane — heard of the threat he said: “The application to apply for village green status has my wholehearted support. Like generation after generation, I loved playing in that area and feel strongly that it should be kept green.”
John said he has fond recollections of annual bonfire-night celebrations on the green, an event typical of the valuable role the land has played in fostering a sense of community in the village.
Oldham Council’s Commons Registration Committee is set to decide whether the land can be registered as a village green.
The community association agrees there is a need for more affordable housing in the village but argues the green is not an appropriate site.
Association chairman Stuart Coleman said: “The survey we conducted in December showed, overwhelmingly, that local people use this space and value it. They regard the village green as a recreational and amenity space for the whole village.
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