Greenstuff Middlesbrough And Beyond Campaign

                                                                                                                                                                                                     *Guest Post By Martyn Walker, Greenstuff Middlesbrough & Beyond

Where to start? Why does a dad of three teenagers in the midst  of A levels and GCSEs, who works full time and has a ton of deadlines, start a movement that becomes all consuming? Surely it must be easier to have a quiet life?

The answer is easy. If something is precious, if it is truly irreplaceable  and someone wants to take it away, then you have to act. You just do.

Four weeks ago I founded Greenstuff Middlesbrough and Beyond, initially a knee jerk reaction to Middlesbrough’s Local Plan proposals, it’s wish to take away a truly unique natural area of Middlesbrough, and throw up 115 houses.  This development, if passed would destroy an area that makes the urban  melt away and become something else.

Natural, Peaceful & An Escape From The Hectic World Around Us

I started the group Greenstuff Middlesbrough and Beyond at 5.15pm  Friday 25th May. I’d received a letter, a vague referral to the Local Plan proposals. It took a while to get through on the phone to pin down where this was. My jaw dropped…. Bluebell Beck Meadow. Or Acklam Meadow as we call it. 115 houses, gone.
I had one clear thought. Get organised. Get everyone aware. So the group became an entity. A thousand members over the first few days became 3.4 k within a month. It has spread like wildfire through social media. Why? Because I captured a moment. A feeling. Enough is enough.
Middlesbrough is a tale of a split town. Either it’s  derelict or it’s under housing construction. There seems to be no master plan, just building sites or empty sites. We have huge swathes of inner Middlesbrough with houses semi cleared. Fenced off. Unused and apparently unwanted by the big boys. The construction companies.

So They Take Our Green Spaces

Fill them with faceless, meaningless houses. No character, no identify. The same here as anywhere.

Middlesbrough’s Strive To Become A Blandscape Is Relentless

Well, communities in Middlesbrough have decided #GreenGrabNo and it’s #NotHappening. We’ve finally woken up and the apathy has burnt away.
The group has some amazing people in it. Designers, printers, teachers, law students, old people, young people, politicans all bound by a love of place. A feeling of community we aren’t giving up to concrete and lego-esque on a mammoth scale.
We as an organisation aren’t against housing, we welcome regeneration, revitalising and reconnecting all the forlorn places in town. There are many.
We just want to keep a balance. Our green spaces, tree cover and access to wonderment are woefully inadequate in terms of national averages. We should cherish and develop and create legacy. This balance isn’t ours to lose,we are caretakers, we need to proceed with this in mind. Building on the Bluebell Beck Country Park area is just bonkers.Plain and simple.
It isn’t actually a country park, but Greenstuff members intend to make it so.

The Future Deserves It

We have organised, protested, met with an MP. , brought in Labour, Conservative councillors, also a Liberal Democrat candidate. We aren’t a political group but it is full of strong minded, political and non political individuals. All bound by the goal to protect what’s left.
I’ve given guided tours to the Tees Valley Mayor and many others. We’ve delivered 8000 leaflets and posters and created our highly visible Operation Bin Day which  uses our bins to have a collective protest against rubbish ideas. This local plan has  more than its fair share of them. We created a video based on a simple no. 350 gathered. It was a special moment.
I’d encourage anyone experiencing similar attacks on beautiful places, or who are just fed up of seeing green become concrete to join us.

We Have BIG plans.

Become A Part Of Them & Make A Difference.

Regards Martyn Walker on behalf of Greenstuff.
Join the Greenstuff Middlesbrough & Beyond Facebook page here.

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