The Town Council considered this application for a second time at the meeting on 12 July 2023 following consultation by Tameside MBC on revisions made to the original application.
The Town Council has issued a comprehensive objection to the proposal which is set out below for information.
This application was originally considered by the Town Council in April 2018.
Whilst the Town Council did not adopt a formal view on the application, Town Councillors were extremely impressed at the work which has gone into producing a comprehensive and informative document (prepared by residents of the Hey Farm Estate) and encouraged Tameside MBC to fully consider the information included within the report prior to making a recommendation on the application.
The Town Council presumes that document has been fully considered.
The application was reconsidered by the Town Council following a further consultation at the meeting on 12 July 2023.
The meeting was attended by approximately 50 residents who strongly voiced their concerns about the development.
After considering the application and listening to the concerns of local resident, the Town Council agreed that the application should be refused for the following reasons.
- Although the land which is subject to the application is allocated for residential use, that zoning is historic. The Tameside Local Plan is by no means finalised and the residential allocation is not yet confirmed. Indeed the plan has not yet been put out to consultation stage and to grant permission for the development on the basis of a draft plan would be wrong and irreversible.
- The Environmental and Ecological Survey documents accompanying the application is suspect in that it appears to be generic in nature and not tailored to the land which is subject to the application.
- It has always been the assumption that ‘brownfield’ sites will be developed rather than develop current green space. Looking at not only at the brownfield land available locally in Mossley, (sites off Egmont St, the former Mossley Hollins School site etc), but even within the relatively short radius to include north Stalybridge there are brownfield sites which are still in the planning process; for example, the substantial former Hartshead Power Station site.
- The proposed development will result in overdevelopment and pays little or no regard to additional infrastructure required to accommodate such a significant increase in the local population. Developers’ financial contributions which are to provide some mitigation and enhancement in the fields of highway, greenspace and environment and education, will be unable to satisfactorily compensate and alleviate issues which will arise from this development.
- The proposed development is speculative and does not include an element of affordable housing for which there is a need in the Town.
- The proposed development does not incorporate play facilities for the significant numbers of children likely to occupy the number of family designed dwellings proposed.
- The nature of the land gives cause for concern with regard to flooding and drainage in the longer term and will exacerbate existing flooding and environmental issues in the locality particularly being located so close to the Tame Valley. The land takes run off from the hills to the east and there is real cause for concern that the ground conditions cannot support development without compromising and degrading what is already regarded as an area of significant “risk” related to those ground conditions and hydrology.
- The number of traffic movements associated with a development of this size must have a significant and detrimental effect on the existing local highway network particularly at rush hour periods. The location of the proposed development in a semi-rural location with undulating topography does not lend itself to alternative and sustainable forms of transport. The development needs to be seen in the context of other potential developments on the same main road link. This cannot be regarded in isolation, although residents are very concerned about local impact, with other proposals at the Hartshead Power Station site (over 300 dwellings in all) would generate a massive increase in traffic along Huddersfield Road, even if primary movements at key times may not all be along this route. The impact of this is not simply on our own community, but on those who share our valley.
- The significant number and type of dwellings proposed must have a detrimental effect on the Town’s infrastructure which is already under significant pressure. The ability of education and health services to accommodate this level of development is questionable in the least. The Town Council would like to see the comments and rationale for coping with this possible influx from the providers of these services. Given the strides forward in the standards of society from the latter part of the 19th Century to now, through housing, planning, education, public health and environmental protection legislation, this level of development not only undermines the principles of this great body of work, it will mean that resources, be they financial or otherwise, allocated to these areas, will be spread much more thinly. This is effectively a backward step. Although it may well be argued that the resolution of deficiencies in, say, healthcare, is a role for government and may be rectified over time, the increased demand for services, which are currently going backwards, should not be tolerated. This is not just about joined up thinking and supply of resources at this time, it’s very basic common sense.
- The rich bio-diversity prevalent in the area will be lost for current and future generations.
- A strategy to deal with the increasing number of applications for residential development on a large scale such as this and small infill sites is required to avoid the loss of open greenspace in the Town. The Town Council has agreed to formulate a Neighbourhood Plan for the Town in the hope to address this but the plan will take time to formulate. This will have to sit within the new local plan, yet to go to consultation for some time.
- The Council does not refute the general arguments for increasing the housing supply, or addressing any imbalance in types available under any tenure. Indeed, some development of social and affordable units would be welcomed as a priority, but certainly not at this scale.
- The conclusion we have come to is that applications for all but the most modest and socially desirable properties should be deemed to be premature, pending the development of existing brownfield sites and the rational reconsideration of these factors through the development plan process. We should not allow detrimental development to be delivered on our doorstep largely because of a lack of development planning to direct it. That is a basic principle of the Town and Country Planning Acts, which we seem to be abandoning to developer led planning.