Dawson’s field becomes part of Saddleworth community

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 18 December 2019

A delighted Saddleworth community is celebrating news of an extra special Christmas present this year.

Because Dawson's Field at Scouthead has been asset transferred from Oldham Council  to Saddleworth Parish Council meaning the facility can be used by villagers for 30 years.

And after signing the transfer documents, Cllr Jamie Curley, chair of Saddleworth parish council, said, “The  field is part of the green belt and is now available to villagers for a range of community based activities.”

The field, which sits alongside the A62 Huddersfield Road at Scouthead, has been a key feature of the Saddleworth Whit Friday band contest organised by the local committee.

It is also the  venue for a “Saddleworth Fun Day” focused on affordable and fun entertainment for children of all ages during school summer holidays. 

Former parish councillor, Robert Knotts, chair of the Scouthead and Austerlands Community Group,  applied for Capital Asset Transfer of the field from Oldham to the Saddleworth Parish Council four years ago.

He said: “The field had been one of the very few bits of open green space in Austerlands and Scouthead accessible to the public. It was very much larger than it now as Oldham Council sold two thirds of it leaving the remainder. 

“The great worry was the remaining part of the field could also be sold, leaving the community without a venue for the band contest or any other events.

“With this worry in mind, I applied for Capital Asset Transfer of the field from Oldham to the Saddleworth Parish Council. 

“Before the application was submitted, the field and its surrounds were very poor with an extremely muddy entrance, falling down walls and barbed wire. 

“The Community Group made good all the deficiencies, ensuring the  field was safe and more attractive and spending £3,260 in improving the asset's features. 

“In addition, the group has agreed to oversee use of the field on behalf of Saddleworth Parish Council.

“Benches and picnic tables have been installed and an award winning garden area developed by the group in conjunction with Waterhead Academy. 

“The area now offers an attractive sitting out area which is well used by the local community.

The group has also applied for a Local Investment Funding Grant to further improve the facilities including a climbing frame.

“The Scouthead Band Contest Committee, Saddleworth Parish Council and Scouthead and Austerlands Community Group want to ensure Dawson’s Field continues as an open green space for community events and use. Transfer of ownership is very much welcomed.”

Parish cllr Barbara Beeley who launched the Fun Day  said: “I am pleased the field has finally been transferred to the Parish Council and will  be protected so  many more fun days can be held in years to come.”

Joan Sykes, former chair of Scouthead and Austerlands Community Group, added: “This area of green belt is a great local asset and for Saddleworth as a whole.”

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