Our park has been trashed by the council - and we as locals want them to change it back

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The work has left residents angry and wanting answers

A beloved green space in Littleborough has been torn up by council workers conducting studies to see if it could be suitable for housing or a car park – now residents are fuming.

What is known locally as Pembroke Park was a hot spot for dog walkers and children until February 26 when the site was sealed off by Rochdale Council who wanted to see if it could be developed. The aftermath of the five weeks worth of work has left grass churned up, bricks and rubble left where flowers used to grow, and what locals describe as a muddy mess.

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Although the park is no longer fenced off, it was not left the way it was found by the workers, much to the annoyance of locals. The former site of the gasworks off Pembroke Street has been touted for development in the past, but the ground was not deemed suitable, according to residents. A letter was issued to nearby residents from the council explaining there would be feasibility work starting which sparked uproar in the community.

Cllr Tom Besford, the representative for Littleborough Lakeside, has headed up the local campaign group ‘Protect Pembroke Park’, and he wants to see the council clean up their mess. 

“The site has been cleared and it has been trashed,” Cllr Besford explained. “I want the council to use the money they have for this project to put it back to the state that it was in before they started.  It is one of those ones we want to make as clear as we can, the locals are in opposition to this. We (the campaign group) are doing everything we can to fight this.”

Pembroke Park in Littleborough before the exploration works were started by the council. Uploaded by George Lythgoe. Credit: Protect Pembroke Park groupPembroke Park in Littleborough before the exploration works were started by the council. Uploaded by George Lythgoe. Credit: Protect Pembroke Park group
Pembroke Park in Littleborough before the exploration works were started by the council. Uploaded by George Lythgoe. Credit: Protect Pembroke Park group | Protect Pembroke Park group

He went on to explain that Littleborough is not opposed to development and there is a masterplan in place that has assigned brownfield sites for such purposes. Cllr Besford said even if development was deemed suitable, it would not be necessary.

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The council has responded by saying they will be returning to the site to clear up the mess and replace any damage caused by the contractors. However, there will be no news as to whether the site can be developed until later this year – leaving that fear in the heads of locals. 

Mark Robinson, director of economy and place at Rochdale Borough  Council, said: “We will be returning to the site once the contractors have left to repair any damage which the investigations caused.

“The team’s findings will now be analysed over the next few months and a report will be produced, which will help inform any next steps. We don’t expect to receive a final report for consideration until later this year.”

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