Danes Moss has had its first snow, Christmas is over and the year of 2024 has begun. In most Januarys of Macclesfield’s history, the inhabitants of the area would have been trying to keep warm by their hearths burning dried peat cut from Danes Moss.
Now, we realise that places like Danes Moss have an even greater importance: peatlands are the biggest carbon stores on land. They can even draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby reduce the severity of climate change. They help to control flooding, filter our water and provide refuge to wildlife that cannot live elsewhere.
So, we must protect our peatlands. Our campaign defends the peatland known for centuries as Danes Moss. We started in December 2021. Now, two years on, where are we?
- The plan to put nearly 1,000 houses and other developments on the northernmost part of Danes Moss is faltering. The absurd impracticality of the ‘South Macclesfield Development Area’ scheme has been noted by Cheshire East Council’s own officials who have lodged objections this year. These were based on (1) unacceptable flood risk and (2) violations of rights of way.
- At present, the two developers and main land holders on the ‘South Macclesfield Development Area’ are Cheshire East Council and Barratt Homes.
- We predict that by spring 2024, there will be a new development proposal put forward on a much smaller scale. This is likely to be presented as a ‘compromise’ with much greenwashing expected. Our position is clear: zero development on Danes Moss. No compromise, no selling out.
- The Save Danes Moss campaign continues to promote an alternative vision. You can find details here: Future Vision
- We have raised funds in excess of £30,000. The majority of this money is allocated for legal action(s) in the event that more planning applications are approved to build on Danes Moss. If we do not have to take legal action, this money will be used to fund the restoration of wetland habitats on Danes Moss. If you wish to donate to the campaign, please use these details below:
Name: Save Danes Moss Community Group
Account: 2195 6060
Sort code: 30 99 50
- Our independently verified wildlife recording has continued with some amazing results. In summary, a total of 103 species with protections have now been found across Danes Moss within both the area of proposed development and outside of the proposed development area. 62 of these have been recorded within the area of proposed development and 79 have been recorded outside of the proposed development area.
- We have held moth recording nights through the year with independent experts present and visitors welcome. These really show how special the proposed development site on Danes Moss is. In a single evening on 28 July, a total of 159 species were recorded.
- In February, we took a complaint against Cheshire East Council to the ICO (Information Commissioners Office). We knew that the development site on Danes Moss had been removed from the Danes Moss ‘Landscape Character Area’ in 2018 by the Council. This meant that the landscape value of the development site was downgraded. We wanted to know how the decision had been made and why. Eventually, we discovered that there were no written records of how the decision had been made. The Council admitted that the decision had been made after discussions with private-sector “Land Use Consultants” and that “these discussions were verbal and no recorded information is held relating to them.” See here
- In July, we saw our first victory in defence of Danes Moss. Planning application 21/4113M was put forward for a lesser known part of the Danes Moss peatland. The site is situated on the western side (Rising Sun pub side) of Congleton Road. We spoke against this terrible scheme at a meeting of the Strategic Planning Board on 26 July 2023. It was unanimously defeated.
See: First victory
- Through the summer, we gathered over 7,000 signatures of Cheshire East residents in a petition to the Council. This was a joint petition with our allies, the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Together, we demanded that (1) the South Macclesfield Development Area planning applications should be rejected by the Council and (2) that the housing allocations on Danes Moss should be removed from the Cheshire East Local Plan.
- In July: we handed the petition to the Council.
- In August: we got a response. There would be no debate on the matter for now. Instead, the petition would be added as evidence to consider when the planning applications are considered.
- We are creating an email update list. If you would like occasional updates from the campaign, please let us know at: email@example.com
Through the year we have held events that have raised awareness and funds for the campaign. These would not have been possible without our active supporters.
We are so grateful to you all. You inspire us and remind us all that community action gets results.
Thank you for all you have done in 2023.
We wish you all a very happy New Year!
The campaign continues!