Protest camp set up against Glossop development

Row over George Street Woods rumbles on
Friday 30th June 2017

Environmental activists have set up a protest camp close to the centre of Glossop.

Row over George Street Woods rumbles on
Friday 30th June 2017

Environmental activists have set up a protest camp close to the centre of Glossop.

The trio moved into George Street Woods last Friday and say they are planning to claim it ‘for the people of Glossop.’

The move has resulted in confrontation after nearby resident Steve Rimmer said the land belonged to him.

Mr Rimmer – who lives opposite the site – also accused the group of trespass and has tried to legally remove them.

The three say they will block the entrance to the land to prevent Mr Rimmer gaining access.

Speaking outside the team’s tent, protest leader Robert Hodgetts-Hayley, 22, said: “We intend to occupy the land for as long as it takes.

“Glossop people are supporting us with food and drink and even bringing takeaways.”

The occupation is the latest round in the long drawn-out battle to decide ‘ownership’ of the former Shepley Mill site.

Stance: Steve Rimmer claims he is the owner of the land

Mr Rimmer says he legally acquired the site by ‘adverse possession’ 10 years ago with its ownership unknown.

He has since put a fence around the land and cleared away much of the stone and glass.

He intends to seek planning permission to use the site for visiting caravanners.

The Friends of George Street Woods have always opposed any form of development, saying the land should be an amenity for Glossop people to walk and have picnics.

They are fully supporting Robert and his co-protesters Adam Martin, 23, and Jake Parker, 19, who are also trying to secure the land by the same method.

Robert said: “We are going for secondary adverse possession to secure the land for the people of Glossop.

“We want to protect the environment for the greater good of the people. Almost 1,000 people have signed a petition supporting us.”

Protest: Jake Parker, Robert Hodgetts-Hayley and Adam

Martin want to claim the land ‘for the people of Glossop’

The protesters claim that to claim adverse possession a person must have occupied the land for 10 years.

They say that Mr Rimmer’s claim is two years short and because their occupation has broken the chain, his claim is no longer valid.

They claim technically no one has owned the land since the mill came down and it is not registered by the council.

Speaking to the Chronicle, Mr Rimmer maintains the land is his and that he has improved it by removing much of the rubble.

He says a London QC, who looked into ownership, said he was in ‘lawful adverse possession’ and had a right to exclude trespassers.

Mr Rimmer said: “High Peak Council declared it as a local green space, but I am challenging that, it is a brown field site.

“I am seeking an injunction to stop the trespass.”

Robert said borough councillors Godfrey Claff and Damien Greenhalgh had visited the site to offer support and that the whole issue was to be discussed by the borough council.

“We are here for as long as it takes,” he added.

Friends of George Street Woods Everyone needs a friend, especially those friends in danger of being lost to us, those that need support and nuture of the community at large. This is the aim of FOGSW – to ensure George Street Woods remains a place for the community to play, relax, research and pass the time in.

George Street Wood diary

A series of films documenting the life on site at the George Street Wood protest in Glossop, Derbyshire.