A MEETING has taken place to discuss the future of the iconic conservatory in Stamford Park, Stalybridge, that has been shut because of “structural issues”.
Concerned members of a community Facebook group requested the meeting with Greenspace manager Nicola Marshall to make suggestions over its future.
The plight of the conservatory, opened in 1907, was brought to the attention of the Correspondent by Grey Street resident Jean Latchford.
She wrote: “I wonder if you could find out what is happening with the Victorian greenhouse in Stamford Park. It was restored a few years ago at considerable time, trouble and expense.
“But it has had a sign on it for at least 18 months, which says ‘closed for roof repairs’.
“As far as I can tell, nothing has been repaired. The plants inside seem to have died and it looks as if it has been left to fall into ruin again.”
Cllr Kevin Welsh, whose ward includes Stamford Park, was unaware the conservatory had been shut.
After paying a visit to the park and investigating, he said: “It was a shame to see the conservatory in such a state. It is looking its age.
“It is a real attraction and, when it was last renovated in 2003, it was the catalyst for other improvements made in the park.
“A structural survey advised closure, but hopefully it can be repaired and reopened.
“In the past there were problems with vandalism. The glass was smashed so it was changed to Perspex. Apparently there have been issues with the last repairs,” he explained.
Cllr Welsh added he was “disappointed” to see the plants in the conservatory looking in such a sorry state and would ask for any still alive to be salvaged.
Nicola explained why the plants had been left untendered.
She said: “There are structural issues with the conservatory, and not just the roof.
“I have a duty of care to my staff as well as the public. That is why nobody has been allowed inside the conservatory.”
Nicola added she would in a better position to comment further after meeting with the community group and exploring their ideas for the conservatory.
The John Nield Conservatory, its full name, was erected and furnished with plants from the legacy to Stamford Park left by the late JP. It was opened on October 13, 1907.
It was completely rebuilt and restored to the original Victorian design between 1982-84. It reopened in April 1985.
There was a later extensive refurbishment, with that one completed in May 2003.