A common cause wins out

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham

Campaigners from the Lane Head South Residents Group have lodged a successful bid with Wigan Council to safeguard the Mount Tabor site for posterity.

Campaigners from the Lane Head South Residents Group have lodged a successful bid with Wigan Council to safeguard the Mount Tabor site for posterity.

Kathleen Johnson, who made the application, told officials there was reference in Leigh Poor Law Union records, old tithe books and parish documents to the common, close to the old workhouse, being gifted to the poor.

She said: “We are all very pleased that the village green status was granted.

“This protects the land for recreational use and means that no-one can change it so it will be preserved for now and in the future.

Nearby residents were said to use the lower part of the field as a source of sand to spread on the floors of their cottages, the borough’s regulation committee was told.

The former Golborne Urban District Council signalled that it wanted to protect the field, which is bordered on one side by an ancient hedgerow, as long ago as 1957.

Around 45 supporting statements were sent to the council, which has now approved Mount Tabor’s village green status.

Birdwatchers from across Greater Manchester are regular visitors to the land, at the top of Tabor Lane, as it attracts ground-nesting birds like the grey partridge and pheasant.

Olwyn Foster, of Newton Road, said: “When my grown-up children were small it was a place to go and hunt bugs and spot birds. Now I walk my dog there and meet other regulars who do the same.”

Her neighbour Peter Hatfield, who has lived locally for 68 years, said: “It is a tranquil and peaceful area that I have returned to again and again over many years since my youth.”

In 2012 Mount Tabor became home to a Jubilee Wood, a series of nature havens designated to honour the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s accession to the throne.

Then-Leigh MP Andy Burnham joined residents for tree-planting at the site, which is also popular with joggers and model aircraft enthusiasts.

Campaigners speeded up efforts to protect the green amid concerns it was being marked out for horse grazing.

Brendan Whitworth, the council’s assistant director for legal services, said: “We were happy to be able to support the applicant through the legal process.

“As part of The Deal we want residents to get involved in their local community and invest their time and energy in helping improve their local area for other residents.”

The old workhouse at Mount Tabor remained in use until 1850, when the inhabitants were transferred to Leigh. Later the building was converted into cottages, which were demolished in 1939.