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Homes plan sparks fear

Reporter: Rosalyn Roden
Date online: 10 July 2017

PLANS have been unveiled for a huge housing development which would transform Saddleworth's landscape.

Manchester-based Russell Homes has outlined plans to construct 265 family homes bordering Knowls Lane and Thornley Lane in Lees. The proposals allow for an as yet unknown number of affordable homes as well as a "significant portion" of public open space.

Since the announcement of the public meeting, a Facebook event called "Save Our Valley" has been created.

A public message on the associated page states: "Ensure you come along to save our valley before they destroy the lovely countryside and habitats of Company Fields that could bring some 300 houses and 600 cars, putting more pressure on Oldham Road, schools, doctors and more."

Councillor Adrian Alexander, who represents Saddleworth West & Lees, said of the proposals: "I am personally very wary of any builders coming in unless they are investigated by the council. We need new houses but not at the expense of residents who have been there for years.

"Without the consent of the residents and council, as far as flooding, planning and infrastructure goes, we do not want to destroy the land.

"The petitions will be starting as we speak."

A new link road would also be created through the site, connecting Lees Road at the junction with Knowls Lane and Ashbrook Road at the junction with Oldham Road.

Russell Homes described the proposals as their "masterplan site" but stressed that not all of the land marked out would be developed for housing.

A public drop-in meeting will take place on Thursday, July 20, to give residents the opportunity to see the initial drawings first-hand and share their views.

Barton Willmore ­- providing planning advice on the scheme ­- will lead the drop-in exhibition and discussion with a presentation about the transformation of Thornley Brook and Ashbrook.

Russell Homes managing director Andrew Russell said: "Russell Homes is in the process of preparing a planning application for a much-needed new link road, new family homes, and enhanced public open space at a site off Knowls Lane in Lees.

"The proposal would allow for the delivery of the Lees Link Road and the development of up to 265 high-quality family homes, including affordable housing, to help meet growing local demand. The application would also involve the retention and enhancement of existing public open space, including walkways and wildlife corridors and a play area.

"The Lees Link Road has been a long-standing aspiration of the local authority and would address existing congestion in the local area created by the bottleneck at High Street and Hartshead Lane."

Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester John Battye, a former mayor of Oldham, said: "Most of this area was designated as Phase 2 housing land ­- sites outside urban areas with potential for housing development ­- from the late 1980s.

"Ashbrook Road was built to link with Lees New Road to alleviate traffic on High Street and the busy junction at the Red Lion."

Part of the site is allocated as "safeguarded land for housing" within Oldham Council's adopted plan.

Representatives from Russell Homes' technical team will attend the public exhibition to respond to questions from members of the public.

Mr Russell said: "We would welcome a good turnout for the event and see this as a great opportunity to work alongside local residents and Oldham Council."

Since the announcement of the public meeting, a Facebook event called "Save Our Valley" has been created.

A public message on the associated page states: "Ensure you come along to save our valley before they destroy the lovely countryside and habitats of Company Fields that could bring some 300 houses and 600 cars, putting more pressure on Oldham Road, schools, doctors and more."

Councillor Adrian Alexander, who represents Saddleworth West & Lees, said of the proposals: "I am personally very wary of any builders coming in unless they are investigated by the council. We need new houses but not at the expense of residents who have been there for years.

"Without the consent of the residents and council, as far as flooding, planning and infrastructure goes, we do not want to destroy the land.

"The petitions will be starting as we speak."

The drop-in event will take place at Springhead Community Centre, Ashes Lane, between 3 and 7pm.

Anyone unable to attend should email craig.barnes@bartonwillmore.co.uk or call 0161 868 4310 for copies of the plans.

Comments

Here we go again! Has somebody ordered a consignment of Greater Crested Newts?

"Affordable homes" there are 293 homes for sale on rightmove in Saddleworth, save up and buy one of these instead like I had to!! They don't do "Affordable Ferrari's" yes I would like one but if I want one I have to save up and be in a position to buy one, its called being responsible and having realistic expectations and standing on your own two feet. Instead beautiful countryside will be destroyed unnecessarily.

The demand for homes has risen since the influx of Eastern Europeans to our town.
"By Straight to the Point" hit the nail on the head. Plenty of homes for sale by numerous local estate agents.

Saddleworth's schools and NHS services are already struggling with its current population. Another 300 homes will just make the situation worse. Moreover, how does putting up to 600 more cars on the road help congestion through Lees village?

The demand is what creates higher prices, and the high demand has been caused by a desire to get away from the multicultural hell holes the council has created. The further away you want to be, the more it costs.
It used to be the case that the wealthier had a car, a second car, a TV & then a colour TV. Now wealth is displayed by the lack of 'diversity' where you live.

Get rid of all the immigrant spongers we wouldn't need the space then!

I saved for years to afford my little house "up the hill". Affordable housing for the locals is never achieved,all we seem to get are more gated communities. Cannot see how roads would cope with yet more traffic in Lees. Hope there are great crested nests,there certainly are bats in the area. The area would also be ruined for astronomers with yet more light pollution. Wish I could see a positive for this development but I can't.

Saddleworth Moaning Brigade out again!! Beautiful countryside?? Just let the builders build homes that are needed to house the ever rising population or give up a bedroom or two for a homeless person. Thought not.

the country needs new homes . oldham is an immigrant placement area with communities of high birth rates so new homes have to be built, these homes will not fulfill the needs of the borough. sfter these new homes are built house prices in the area will fall and people will be able to afford the 293 homes on sale in saddleworth.

So we have the usual brigade telling people to shut up and get on with it. 256 new homes, more traffic on the roads. Not sure the link road would have mucheffect. It will just turn that area into a rat run while heavy traffic continues in and out of Manchester. More strain on the likes of Dr's surgeries, schools that can barely cope at the moment. Plenty of properties available in Saddleworth and in Lees and holts etc. No thanks it just a way of a private company make £ of the Saddleworth name

Sportsman,I guess you like the diversity of cultures, what about people being allowed to live in different types of "habitats". I now hate being in a town others hate the country, let us keep the two separate.

I was born and raised in this area but when it came to buying my own house I bought what I could afford in another area, I did not consider it to be my right to live here. I lived out of the area for 17 years and only by working hard, saving and budgeting was I able to move back here. A large section of this land being discussed is OPAL land and supposedly is protected from development. There are plenty of brownfield sites that can be developed for housing instead of destroying green spaces.

When the former mayor says most of this area was designated as phase 2 housing does he mean the 8.47 hectares? If so then he is absolutely correct. However, does that mean the 7.75 hectares of land that is currently classed as Other Protected Open Land (OPOL) suddenly loses its protected status because it suits? So only the 52.22% (not most) should even be being discussed for development, not the land with protected status.

Part 2 of what I wanted to say.

Also, if the link road is going to make such a huge difference then why hasn’t the council done this as it has been discussed over the last 30 years.

I appreciate we need more housing but according to some experts that doesn’t mean new, but making better use of the houses we have that are empty that sit on roads and are already part of the community.

So I am not moaning but like to deal with facts as opposed to just believing what we are told.

Quite clearly Ashbrook Rd by Springhead Post Office was built wide enough to be a through road to link up with Lees New Rd once a Housing Developer came along to build on Phase 2 Housing land which has been designated as such for over 30 years. Oldham Council will probably gain over £500,000 in Council Tax if the development goes ahead on land that nobody seems has previously objected to being allocated for housing.

Does the council not realise that any advantages the so called link road will provide will be cancelled out by the additional 600 or so additional cars on the road, oh wait they don't care because it's ticks various boxes.
I am a "nimby" and proud, but for a good reason, its not only about being in my back yard literally, but also the impact it will have on the local area and the lack of infrastructure schools, doctors etc,

Things have changed a lot in the 20+ years since Labour passed this motion. Springhead, Grotton and Lees were overdeveloped in 60's and 70's and have no open land except this valley and the linear park.Have we run out of phase 1 building sites and brownfield sites that we must now resort to phase 2? How many derelict mills are there in Oldham?

There are currently 433 empty houses in Saddleworth - nearly twice the number needed. How many sites have permission for houses which have not been built? Will the businesses in Lees really be pleased when you take away all their passing trade?

Government planning of this nature always has to include an element of 'affordable housing' but this can be set aside if the developer can show that including it will cause undue hardship, and of course with any decent accountant it is easy to show that it will always cause this.
So, like the development of Royal George Mill at Friezland the affordable homes were included in the proposal but never built.
You should work on the principle that there are NO affordable homes in this proposal.

I live on Oldham Road on the Springhead/Grotton border.
The road is so busy not just @ peak times but all through the day.A link road @ Ashbrook Rd is not the answer to hold ups @ County End.And building new houses in the valley where we have a bit of open space for people & wildlife I really do not feel that this is a good idea.Start using brown sites has got to be the answer.Or is it that brown sites are not in the"right" areas for the snob factor?

It seems that Oldham will soon become just a sprawl of buildings with no open spaces. But all the council is interested in is raking in more and more in council tax and never mind the the fact that quality of life suffers. Those who are pointing out the present inadequacies of Doctors , Schools, Hospitals, Roads etc are quite right to do so.

The number of houses has risen from 130 to 265. Labour must be clapping their hands at all that council tax never mind what local people think.

Well well fancy the nimbies being out in force again!, 1 week they moan there is no investment in our area's then, when there is investment there they are moaning again!. Let's just say I am glad I left Oldham many years ago, and yes the local council have turned this once proud town in to a multi-racial dumping ground!...and it is not just Labour that has done this!..the Conservatives are still letting in record numbers of immigrants ...the logistical problems are where to put them!.

Just out of interest, how much is an affordable house ? will people on zero contract be able to buy one ? what's needed is housing for rent which would help more people hoping for a place to live rather than buying a house

When is someone from our illustrious council going to put their backbone in and say no to any developer with a half baked plan to ruin what's left of our "lovely" town!
Stand up and be counted for Gods sake!

As a few people keep mentioning. We all know that some of the land has been allocated for phase 2 housing for over 30 years. However they are planning to build more houses on the area of land that has protected status. So the status of each should be taken on an individual basis. The only reason they want the protected land is to cover the cost of the new road. So the reason why people haven't previously objected is because the land is and should continue to be protected for all.

Huge???
They have plans for 1900 houses at Moorside.

As a few people keep mentioning. We all know that some of the land has been allocated for phase 2 housing for over 30 years. However they are planning to build more houses on the area of land that has protected status. So the status of each should be taken on an individual basis. The only reason they want the protected land is to cover the cost of the new road. So the reason why people haven't previously objected is because the land is and should continue to be protected for all.

It is clear that the solution to the housing shortage in England is to allow over 350,000+ people to migrate here every year. Maybe not.
People will have to accept that our green and pleasant land be concreted over to house the endless import of cheap labour. Or they can demand politicians stop mass immigration.
These 265 homes are just the tip of the iceberg. Oldham needs to build 13,700 new homes in the next 20 years. Get ready for more congestion and poorer services.

Nimbys....get over it

Oh look,a blade of grass let's build on it,morons,council won't be happy till they concreted every inch of the town all for the extra revenue and for a quick profit for a housing developer,knock Hartford mill down,build there,build on the Land where maple mill was,land around alexandra retail,build there,oh sorry,houses there won't be worth jack will they

First and foremost Lees cannot cope with anymore traffic. But I feel the thought of social housing is the issues as the thought of another dumping ground for immigrants will just lower the tone . however if it was three bed luxury homes that would not be objected as much, The land at present is not of outstanding beauty or serving any purpose, there is no public access , so build on it .

I do love how some people say get over it, such a well thought out and intelligent response. Hopefully these are the same people who complain that their children can't get nursery places in the area or get into the school they want or when class sizes reach 40-50. The same who moan its ridiculous how long you have to wait to see a doctor or get treatment. Anyway when that happens ‘get over it’. By the way, I am not from this area but don’t believe people should just smile and say thank you!

Donrob, you are not basing comments on fact. They are building family homes including affordable housing, not social housing. Many objections are about building on this open green space, regardless of what that building is. Oldham is a heavily developed area and this is one of the few green spaces left. Get out more - see how much this space is used by people in the community. Also, get the facts before commenting.

Can't wait for these to go up! Finally some nice new housing in the area.

 

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