Gartside Street Car Park (behind Delph Methodist Church)

As you are no doubt aware, Delph Methodist Church was forced to close the car park behind its buildings, on the advice of both its insurance company and its solicitor, because of its poor state of repair and the risk of personal injury.

The car park first opened to the public in 1974, when Saddleworth Urban District Council leased and surfaced the old school yard, creating a new entrance next to the chapel building. The lease (and obligation to maintain and repair the car park) passed to OMBC when local government was re-organised not long afterwards. The car park has gradually deteriorated since then and, though discussions between the church and OMBC continued over many years, the lease lapsed and the church has had to accept that OMBC no longer want to fund this car park as a public service.

The church does not have the resources to repair the car park to the standard required for a car park used by the public (nor to fund the ongoing maintenance that would be needed) but appreciates how valuable the car park is to the local community and wants it to continue to be available for the use of residents and visitors to the village. It will be even more vital when the new clinic opens next door.

Discussions have therefore been held between the church, the Community Association and local bodies to try to obtain funding to undertake the repairs necessary for a public car park. We do not yet have final figures but the surfacing and works required to the drains beneath will cost up to £30,000 including VAT.

The church has allocated some funds, the NHS has made a donation, and our local councillors (Alan Roughley, Garth Harkness and Derek Heffernan) have committed their remaining budget for 2013-14 to the works. Some local individuals and groups, including the Community Association who gave the proceeds of the Scarecrow competition (£550). The total currently stands at around £30,000 which may be sufficient, although final details are awaited.

It is reported that the Car Park has been surfaced, but not lined out as yet, although preparation for lining has taken place.