The Tame Valley is a real gem, both for our borough, and specifically for my heavily urbanised constituency which also crosses into Stockport. Indeed, the Tame Valley is about the one thing the different communities which make up the Denton and Reddish constituency – Audenshaw, Denton, Dukinfield, Haughton Green, Heaton Chapel, Heaton Norris and Reddish – have in common (apart from sharing the same MP).
Of course, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Tame Valley was a haven for heavy industry. The proud old mills still stand in the area of Dukinfield known as ‘Tame Valley’, but many of the scars of the industrial revolution have been removed and returned to nature. You’d have to have a strong imagination to see the Gibraltar Mill (though the weir is still there) or the Haughton Dale Wireworks (though the mill race is still there) or the Hulme’s Pit (though the foundations of the mine workings are still there) or the Reddish Vale Mills (though the mill ponds remain a popular visitor attraction), and that’s a testament to the old Greater Manchester Council who, in the 1970s, decided to transform the river valleys across the county, including the Tame Valley, into linear country parks.
45 years on, the river valleys are a vital green lung. They are of huge recreational importance, and of massive environmental importance too. That’s why I will always defend protecting our Tame Valley.
But at the edges, the Valley is under threat. Nowhere more so than on the edge of Denton at Bredbury, where Stockport Council has identified land dropping down the V of the valley to the River Tame as a suitable extension for the Bredbury Industrial Estate. I’m vehemently opposed to this, and have been working with Labour Councillors in Tameside and William Wragg, my Tory MP colleague in the neighbouring Hazel Grove constituency (where Bredbury is located), to stop this proposal.
You see, if it happens, it will completely destroy the ambience of this part of the Tame Valley, and especially at Hulme’s Wood and Haughton Dale Local Nature Reserves in Denton. And because of poor infrastructure in Stockport – and especially low railway bridges – much of the additional HGV traffic will be forced onto Stockport Road in Denton to access the motorway network.
Last weekend there was a fantastic display of people power when several hundred local people, from across Denton, Haughton Green, Haughton Dale, Bredbury and Woodley marched to protest at this proposal. It’s early days in the fight, but our message was resoundingly clear. “Hands off OUR Tame Valley”.