Oldham Councillors considered plans for two controversial housing estates
Date published: 21 March 2019
The borough’s planning committee have given permission for 20 homes in Greenfield despite a petition signed by more than 750 people.
The houses would be a range of two-storey, four-bedroom properties, with at least one parking space each.
Objectors had pleaded with councillors not to ‘concrete over our community’, arguing the land off Shaw Hall Bank Road was a ‘unique site’ for wildlife.
Aside from concerns that wildlife – such as deer and bats used the site – issues were also raised over the increase number of cars that development would bring to the congested roads around it.
Objector Stephen Ribbitts told the meeting: “It is a real gem in the Greenfield crown and a local amenity that is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
“It’s Greenfield by name and green field by nature.”
Saddleworth South ward councillor Jamie Curley also spoke out against the plans.
He said: “There’s 157 letters of objection and 764 signature petition. There is genuine, genuine concern about this.
“This area would represent not just the loss of visual amenity to the residents of Shaw Hall Bank Road but the loss of amenity to the whole community.
“We shouldn’t allow the environment to be degraded simply because we want to put up a few houses.
“Is that what we want to be known as? The council that just lets anybody do anything? And to hell with the wildlife and to hell with people’s lives?”
Michael Brown, the agent for the applicant, HNA Architects Ltd, said it was ‘essentially a nice housing scheme’, which was responding to ‘significant identified need’ for housing in Oldham.
“We are proposing well designed houses to national space standards with ample car parking and because we have deliberately chosen a low-density development we can provide large gardens,” he said.
“The 20 new houses have 275pc parking provision as such those proposals will cause no parking issues whatsoever on Shaw Hall Bank Road.
“This site will be housing, why not this proposal.”
Stephen Irvine, head of planning, said: “We do have a position of our housing shortage.
“In the last ten years in this particular ward, 269 houses have been built. That is not a substantial amount of numbers however you look at it.”
A contribution of £150k from the developer is proposed for ‘trim trail’ exercise equipment and surface improvements at Churchfield Playing Fields.
A majority of the committee voted to approve the application, with a condition that the garages at some of the properties could not be converted into living space.
However they deferred another controversial reserved matters application for 23 homes at land off Haven Lane in Moorside.
The plans were originally rejected by the planning committee in November 2016, but that decision was overturned on appeal.
Planning officer Graeme Moore told members that costs were awarded against the council for the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in refusing the application on highways grounds.
The majority of the dwellings are two-storey, with a mix of three and four bed homes, while one of the properties would be a three-bed bungalow.
Residents had lodged 22 letters of objection over the plans.
Objector Neil Buckley told the chamber: “The layout design is in no way sympathetic to existing residents or the character of the surrounding properties.”
St James ward councillor Cath Ball added: “Although the number of homes has been reduced from 30 to 23, I’m not happy with what they have come up with.
“The line of detached houses going up, they look like rabbit hutches quite honestly, they’re not in keeping with the surrounding homes at all.
“I’m sure the developers want to be known as building good homes not ones that people speak about as being ‘poky’.”
Ellie Philcox, agent for the application on behalf of Cube Great Places told the meeting there would be an increase of ten trees if the plans were approved.
“These reserved matters proposals have been thoughtfully considered by my client, and developed in consultation with your council officers,” she said.
However committee chair Coun Steven Bashforth told the chamber there were issues over drainage of the site, and concerns about the orientation of the bungalow.
Recommending they defer the decision to a later date, he said: “We’ve been through a lot with this and we’re not going to turn the houses down, but we want to get it right.
“Another few weeks on this will not make any difference but it may improve this.”
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