An old-fashioned British street party might make you think of a bygone era, the Queen’s Coronation, or maybe even a day during that whole year we’d rather forget, but this largely lost English tradition is still being kept alive in pockets across the country — Stockport being one of them.
Dovedale Road in Offerton, to be specific, but this now legendary local event is becoming bigger and better every year and its journey has been quite remarkable.
Set up way back in 2000, long-standing resident and local neighbourhood watch volunteer, Barbara Marriott, decided to get those living around the Dovedale loop in the Stockport suburb together for the millennium celebrations, using the street’s large green as what would come to be home for the festivities.
Born in the 40s and having celebrated the Coronation herself as a child back in 1953 and grew up on these kinds of street parties, as well as school and community fêtes, she wanted to draw on those influences and introduce them to a new generation. And that’s just what she did.
Old school community spirit
Just like that, the first-ever Dovedale Green Party was born and it has been running pretty much every year since, going from a modest little gathering amongst locals on the road into becoming an annual event spearheaded by the Dovedale Community Group.
With Dovedale consisting of a large looped road bisected by another and centred around the large patch of grass mentioned above, dozens of families come to plant their festive flags on the green, erecting gazebos and big marquees, setting up their barbeques and lining the street with tables and chairs.
This isn’t just a slapdash thing either; Dovedale Community Group gets permission to shut down the road at least once a year, blocking the entrance to the green with their cars and wheelie bins as well as a big banner specially commissioned by the organisers which reads, ‘For Offerton Revival’.
And it isn’t just the main street party in the summer either: the locals have held special events down the years, be it Christmas, jubilees, the King’s Coronation this past May, ‘Freedom Day’ and many more.
Fun and festivities, come rain or shine
From the familiar bunting and union jack flags that you’d normally associate with the Great British street party tradition, to bouncy castles, petting zoos, face painting and even inviting along the local fire station for the kids, the Dovedale Green Party is a real family event.
Whether it’s tombolas, limbo competitions and the classic egg-and-spoon race, or even just dancing with their neighbours to the tunes of local DJ, pub quiz host and Dovedale resident, Dave Legg, who’s been MCing the event for years now, there is something for everyone to get involved in.
Better still, they had a record amount of local businesses donating things to raffle off for 2023: everything from big hampers and vouchers to food, booze, as well as footy shirts and tickets for Man City and Stockport County, just to name a few. They even had Papa John’s serving up fresh pizza.
Moreover, with the help of Forever Manchester, Greater Manchester’s Community Foundation, not only were the organisers able to pump money into this year’s event but the money raised on the day will also be going right back into the fund for next year.
Taking an idea and running with it
Now in its 23rd year, the Green Party and the Dovedale Community Group who help bring it to life every summer haven’t just taken on the responsibility, they’ve built on the idea that Barbara started all those years ago and have grown it into something wonderful.
Speaking at this year’s event, volunteer Michaela said: “From the year 2000, our community champion Barbara started us on our journey and has kept the spirit of the community alive. This year she passed the baton onto our 2023 Community Champion Anna Nuttall and her volunteers to continue the success.
“We were awarded some funding thanks to Forever Manchester and were able to have many more activities for the children this year and even managed to get the fabulous Blank Cheque [a local favourite at Stockport’s Foodie Friday] to come and perform for us.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many local businesses who donated prizes, funding and their services to help make this year’s Green Party a success. It was a fantastic day enjoyed by all and long may it continue!”
In this day and age, it can be rare to find regular events in the community like this where people truly embrace that sense of neighbourly spirit on this kind of scale and do it for no other reason than they want to have a good time with good people for a good cause.
Post-pandemic, especially, this little road in Offerton has really come together and doubled down not only on the Great British street party as a concept but on the value of that ‘love thy neighbour’ ethos and what it can come to mean for so many.
These events are about giving back and getting out what you put in — a lesson we can all stand to remind ourselves from time to time.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see more events like this taking place throughout Greater Manchester’s various boroughs? Is there anything like this in your local area? Let us know in the comments.
Stockport’s landmark £60m Weir Mill neighbourhood beneath viaduct hits major milestone
Weir Mill, a major new neighbourhood in Stockport, has reached a milestone this week, with its towering 14-storey apartment block reaching its full height.
The £60m transformation of the area beneath the viaduct in the town centre is being taken on by social impact developers Capital & Centric, who plan build 253 design-led apartments, as well as green outdoor space, independent bars, restaurants and shops.
Capital & Centric are already receiving interest from indie operators for the commercial spaces, ahead of kick-starting their hunt in the new year.
Weir Mill will bring life back to historic mill buildings that date all the way back to the 1700s.
It will form a major destination in Stockport’s Town Centre West masterplan, a 130-acre regeneration district which will include 4,000 new homes, local amenities, green spaces, workspace, and transport improvements.
To celebrate Weir Mill reaching its full height, members of Stockport Council and the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation, along with local young people from the not-for-profit Regeneration Brainery bootcamp, were invited for a tour of the site.
Views from the top of the tallest apartment block look all the way across Stockport and beyond to the Peak District, with the towers of Manchester city centre visible too.
The development is being built right on the banks of the River Mersey and beside the city’s iconic red-brick viaduct, a stone’s-throw from the train station.
Stockport has in recent years been named as one of the best places to buy your first home, as well as getting a name-check in the Sunday Times’ coveted Best Places To Live annual round-up.
Adam Higgins, from Capital&Centric, said: “Weir Mill is such a historic site but it was in need of some major TLC. Since day one, our mission has been to restore and repurpose the stunning heritage buildings and create a destination neighbourhood that furthers Stockport’s standing as one of the best places to live and spend time. Not only are we well underway with delivering more design-led homes at a key brownfield site, we’re also on with creating outdoor hangouts and food and drink spaces that will all be open to the public and help draw a crowd into the town centre.
“Reaching the highest point is a massive moment and a visible sign of the change that’s happening here. It’s a privilege to give a glimpse of what’s happening on site given much of it has been shrouded in scaffolding for months. It really is a testament to the level of collaboration underway with the Council and MDC – with a shared desire to see Stockport create an identity it can be proud of for years to come.”
More than 150 people are now working to deliver the project, with significant focus on preserving and celebrating the original features of the historic Grade II listed landmark.
Cllr Mark Hunter, from Stockport Council, said: “This is a huge achievement and testament to the drive and ambition of everyone involved to bring this historic building back to life and greatly improve this area of the town centre, providing much needed, good quality homes.
“The pace at which change is happening across the town centre is quite staggering, with work at the nearby Transport Interchange and new urban park due for completion next year, it’s a really exciting time for Stockport.”
Eamonn Boylan, Interim Chair of Stockport MDC, said: “The structural completion of the new residential blocks for the Weir Mill development puts us another step closer to delivering the 4,000 new homes that our regeneration masterplan will achieve.
“The latest chapter in our town centre’s £1billion transformation, Weir Mill is setting a new benchmark for brownfield regeneration. One that celebrates and reinvigorates the town’s industrial infrastructure and heritage for a new age, in turn delivering essential new homes, creating a new cultural and leisure district and enhancing connectivity in the town centre.
“As we look ahead to 2024, which will see the completion of a major new transport hub alongside amenities and new public realm, Stockport is undoubtedly on track to becoming one of the best connected and most liveable towns in the UK.”
Once complete the £60m Weir Mill project will feature:
Chestergate and King Street West: A new gateway into the town centre, with ground floor spaces for independent shops, cafes or delis and plenty of lush greenery.
Water Front: A new public space looking out across the River Mersey, providing a place for riverside chilling in the evening sun.
Weir Mill East: Sensitively designed new buildings featuring a mix of homes, drawing inspiration from the site’s manufacturing history.
Weavers Square: What will become the heart of the scheme and a new destination for Stockport. The old cast iron columns of Weavers Shed are being retained to create a vibrant new outdoor space for riverside street markets, DJ sets, live music events and performing arts.
West Shed: A striking indoor space with exposed brick vaulted arches and cast-iron columns, creating a relaxed space to take your laptop, grab a coffee and while away the day.
West Courtyard: The former working courtyard to the mills, this will be a quieter, more contemplative garden space for residents and the general public to chill out, with plants, trees and secluded spaces to explore, as well as amenities for residents including rooftop terrace, BBQs and private dining spaces.
Police appeal for information following a ‘targeted assault’ on a family in Stockport
Police are appealing for information and witnesses following a “targeted assault” on a family in Stockport last week.
According to Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the shocking incident took place on Blandford Road in Stockport at around 9pm last Friday (24 November), and has been described as a “targeted attack on a family of four” – with two young children involved.
The assault happened while the family were inside their vehicle, a GMP spokesperson explained, and while injuries were “sustained” during the incident, they were thankfully not life-threatening.
The two suspects, who are believed to be males, used weapons to damage the vehicle before leaving the scene towards Green Lane in a dark-coloured car.
No arrests have been made at this stage, GMP has confirmed.
Now, with a police investigation having been opened and currently ongoing, GMP has issued a public appeal for more information and additional footage, and is also seeking witnesses to the incident in a bid to fully establish what happened.
“We have spent all weekend investigating a number of lines of enquiry to identify those responsible for committing a reckless act which could have had far more serious consequences,” explained Detective Constable Lauren Snook, of GMP’s Stockport CID.
“We are determined to bring these offenders to justice for the shocking actions that has left a family understandably upset and worried.
“They are being supported throughout but we are hoping the local community can assist us further, as any bit of detail, however small, could be the key bit of evidence we need to take this further.”
DC Snook explained that GMP is keen to anyone who may have dashcam or doorbell footage “in the moments leading up to, during, or after the attack”, especially around the Norris Hill Drive or Blandford Road area, adding that: “Our enquiries suggest the offenders in their vehicle were parked on Blandford Road from around 4:30-7:15pm, before returning at around 9pm.
“This means we believe people might have dashcam footage when on their journeys that could assist with our investigation.”