THE public is being given the chance to have their say on potential future uses for the John Nield Conservatory at Stamford Park which is threatened with demolition.
The Save Stamford Park Greenhouse community group is asking for people to vote on five suggested uses.
Vice-chairperson Jane Whittaker said: “I have started a poll so we can make suggestions and see how strong these ideas are in preparation to discuss with our funders.
“Please vote and feel free to add any suggestion to the poll.”
Suggestions already made are:
• Hothouse with exotic plants and butterflies.
• Educational area for projects.
• Disability and mental health quiet place for project.
• Horticultural and garden centre and shop.
• Food and herbs grow and share.
The community group is being set up as a fully constituted body with Matthew Clarke appointed chairperson, Jane Whittaker vice-chairperson and Gill Stirrup treasurer.
It is also intended to set up a Friends’ group which would help with co-ordinating fundraising, possibly the Friends of John Nield Conservatory.
The community group is still waiting to hear from Historic England over whether their bid to have the conservatory given listed status has been successful.
Matthew is quietly confident as in conversations with Historic England he was told there is a “strong case”.
He said: “They are still putting the finishing touches to their report. We have been told it could take up to six months.
“We also need things in place and to be prepared just in case the conservatory is not listed.”
The community group is still pushing for a meeting with Councillor Brenda Warrington, executive leader of Tameside Council but so far has had no positive response.
The conservatory was originally opened in 1907 by Mr Nield, a former justice of the peace.
It has been shut to the public since 2015 with signs posted outside stating ‘closed for roof repairs’.
They were never carried out and this summer Tameside Council’s executive cabinet accepted a report from officers which recommended it be demolished and replaced by a community garden at a cost of £50,000.
The decision was met by fury with the community group set up and a petition of more than 4,000 signatures was compiled.
Since Historic England’s involvement – they visited the conservatory on August 9 – the conservatory has received a six month stay of execution.
The community group wants Tameside Council to hand them the keys and give them to opportunity to repair and refurbish it.
Whether the conservatory gets listed building status or not will influence the group’s options for getting grants to carry out repairs.