If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know how much I love the Tame Valley, the ribbon of beautiful green space that follows the River Tame through Tameside and Stockport. It gives a great deal of pleasure to residents and is also a haven for wildlife. This is why I’m so strongly opposed for plans to extend the industrial estate at Bredbury in Stockport into this precious greenbelt land when there are so many brownfield sites available in Greater Manchester.

However, protecting our Tame Valley isn’t just about preventing industrial spread, it’s also about making sure that the rest of the area is well-maintained and well-kept. Whilst there are many sections that are protected – such as the Hulmes and Hardy Woods and Haughton Dale Local Nature Reserves, other sections are in private hands and not necessarily maintained to the standards that are needed.

This is why, along with local Councillors, I’m looking to establish “The Friends of the Tame Valley” as a group that would help to secure improvements to the section of the valley running from Shepley Woods in Audenshaw, through Jet Amber Fields, and along the Upper Haughton and Whittles Meadows to Mill Lane in Haughton Green.

Whilst some brilliant local residents and dog walkers litter-pick in parts of Jet Amber Fields, other parts need some serious care and attention. Limited maintenance has meant badly worn footpaths, missing signposts, broken fences, neglected trees and more.

We want all of the valley cared for so that it can be enjoyed by the whole community. The new Friends group would hold the various landowners to account, as well as fundraise and bit for grants for improvements so that it’s fit for the next 40 or 50 years.

There are many fantastic Friends groups across Tameside that do so much to look after our collective environment and heritage, whether that’s train stations, parks, historic buildings or green spaces. If we get this right, this group will do the same for some of the more neglected sections of our wonderful Tame Valley.

If you’re interested in getting involved, email me at GwynneA@parliament.uk and I’ll send you a Zoom link to the inaugural AGM on Tuesday 16th February at 7pm. Together, we can secure improvements to the Tame Valley that will ensure that it continues to provide joy and comfort to Tamesiders (both human and animal!) for many generations to come.

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