A new village sign was officially unveiled this Friday on ‘Tommy Todd’ Green, Haughton Green, after recently discovered documents prove the common land has protected legal status – thanks to a collaboration between Irwell Valley Housing, residents and local MP Andrew Gwynne.
Back in 1884, Denton and Haughton amalgamated. To mark the unity of the two townships, Tommy Dodd, a large stone plinth and gas lamp which once stood on Denton Market Place, was dismantled and re-erected on Haughton Green’s village green, then known as Betty’s Park.
At the time, the event was lightheartedly referred to by the local media as ‘the Marriage of Tommy Dodd and Betty Haughton’.
The Green became popularly known as Tommy Todd, a corruption over time of the Tommy Dodd lamp, which was dismantled in 1905.
The Green’s registration documents that protected the land under the Commons Registration Act 1965 were subsequently lost. After some detective work, Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne recovered the documents.
Irwell Valley Housing Association, which manages over 900 properties in Haughton Green, funded renewal of the sign and applied for formal planning permission, so that today – some 30 years after the historic papers went missing – the village green can now proudly display its protected legal status with a traditional village sign.
Local residents, Margaret Smethurst and George Newton, designed the sign which depicts the church of St Mary the Virgin, an iconic landmark; the red rose of Lancashire, marking the area’s historic county and its modern-day inclusion in the Duchy of Lancaster and the crests of the Township of Haughton and the Town of Denton.
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council gave landowner consent for its installation.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
‘I am really appreciative of the help that Irwell Valley have given to make this local project happen. Haughton Green, and the old Township of Haughton have a fantastic history, and this village green sign helps to recognise the official status of Tommy Todd as our village green.’
‘It’s also about having pride in our local community, and this has been a real partnership effort, with Irwell Valley, Loxley Homes, Tameside Council, the Denton South Councillors and local residents, particularly Margaret and George, all playing a part.’
Michael Redford, Managing Director, Neighbourhoods at Irwell Valley added:
‘Our investment in Haughton Green has always been about benefiting all residents who live in the area. We are delighted to be involved in a project that preserves the best of the community’s heritage for future generations.’