“Moron” motorists lead to Dovestone chaos claims doctor

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 13 October 2020

A respected doctor and community leader attacked “morons” who lead a return to chaos at a Saddleworth beauty spot. 

Scores of motorists flocked to Dovestones reservoir at the weekend, blocking access points and roads to the picturesque site and bringing a gridlock to nearby Greenfield.

Dr Andrew Taylor, chair of the prestigious Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents Association, said: “People don’t change much without a significant motivation or draconian penalty. 

“This was the first nice Sunday after the Dovestone protection marshal scheme was mothballed. We had total gridlock of old, bad behaviour and now the added of ignoring social distancing.

“There are more arrogant, selfish, self-serving morons looking to please themselves than there are caring employees and volunteers in the organisations covering the Dovestone area.  

“The invaders can turn up at the drop of a sunhat; the organisations would need a crystal ball and a bottomless fund to have a response sufficient to maintain order.”

A year ago, Dr Taylor spearheaded a delegation who met agencies, council officials and Andy Burnham, the mayor of greater Manchester with MP Debbie Abrahams, to discuss the problems.

Ms Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, convened a virtual meeting in July with the owners of the Dovestone site, and various organisational and community stakeholders, to discuss issues.

She said “Our local services are working hard to safeguard the precious countryside around Dovestone, an area privately owned by United Utilities.

“But it’s no longer about just preserving the countryside, preventing fires, and keeping disruption to local communities to a minimum anymore: we now have to factor in the potential effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

She added: “United Utilities in conjunction with the various stakeholders will publish draft proposals on how the site management could be better improved next month, which will be discussed at a follow up virtual meeting.

“I will continue to work closely with all local stakeholders to help preserve our beautiful area, as Andy Burnham and I committed to last year.”

Dr. Taylor added: “There has to be a supported plan, taking everyone on board, properly funded and capable of responding as quickly as the invaders respond to the weather forecast.

“We have had the acceptance, we have had the promises.  Many an abandoned bride at the altar knows where we are now and how we feel.”

Ward councillor Jamie Curley, former chairman of Saddleworth Parish Council, who lives in Greenfield, said: “I think people were out in anticipation of another lock down. This is one of the many unthought consequences of mixed messages and speculations.

“Communication should be precise and timely. We need to think of Dovestones outside peak times as this won’t stop, especially if areas enter further restrictions.”

An Oldham council spokesman said: “We take action against those who park irresponsibly and illegally. Our team covers the whole borough and visit as many hotspot areas as resources allow.

“With regard to Dovestone we have introduced parking measures in the surrounding areas in a bid to alleviate the issues, especially for residents.

“Since the pandemic started, we have stressed the importance of social distancing to stop the spread of the disease.”

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