OLDHAM Council is urged to approve plans for a housing project in Royton or run the risk of a “costly appeal” on behalf of the developers.
The authority has until early next month to give the go-ahead for 77 dwellings plus associated works and infrastructure on greenfield land to the east of Hebron Street and Brownlow Avenue.
There is already local objection and it is another application causing headaches for a planning department shorn of its head planner, Stephen Irvine.
Mr Irvine and his officers previously recommended approval for the Hebron Street development (PA/341416/18) submitted in February 2018 on behalf from Grasscroft Homes and Property Limited (GHPL), Annice Dransfield Douglas and Matthew Dransfield Halliwell.
But OMBC’s planning committee, then chaired by Royton councillor, Steve Bashforth, rejected it on March 13, 2019 by nine votes to two.
Four reasons for refusal were cited including the loss of Other Protected Open Land (OPOL) and harm to the visual amenity of the area, traffic congestion and obstruction on Hebron Street and beyond plus residential development of “poor design in terms of unacceptable room sizes.”
Following talks with Mr Irvine and fellow planner, Matthew Taylor, on May 3, 2019, a new application (PA/343341/19) was submitted later in the month by Marc Hourigan of Manchester-based Hourigan Connolly on behalf of GHPL.
In a letter to Mr Irvine dated May 21, Mr Hourigan left the former planning boss in no doubt of his intentions if the latest proposals are again kicked out.
The site in the Royton South constituency is bounded by both Heyside Park and other protected open land to the north.
It also forms part of a wider proposed site allocation, named Broadbent Moss within the Greater Manchester Plan for homes, jobs, and the environment
Mr Hourigan wrote: “We discussed the reasons for the recent refusal of detailed planning permission at length at our recent meeting. That decision of course was made contrary to the advice of many and various officers of the council and its external advisers.
“Needless to say I do not consider the council’s resolved position… is either tenable or reasonable.
“However, despite this and in the spirit of trying to continue to work collaboratively with the council, the applicants are prepared to offer a further opportunity for the Council to approve an amended scheme.
“We trust that this can be achieved expediently mindful of officers’ knowledge of this site and proposal which resulted in a positive recommendation for the previous scheme.
“There is an opportunity here for the council to approve an alternative scheme to secure the delivery of much needed new homes thereby avoiding a costly appeal.
“As mentioned at our meeting I am instructed to appeal the refusal of detailed planning application PA/341416/18 by September 8 (ie one month before the six-month deadline for appealing) unless the Council has resolved to approve this alternative detailed planning application by that time.”
Mr Hourigan went on to say: “Any appeal will be accompanied by a detailed application for costs against the council.
“If having appealed the first scheme, the second scheme is then refused, I am instructed to appeal that scheme also and ask for the two cases to be co-joined.
“In summary I would like to thank you and your colleagues for your continued support and assistance and I sincerely hope that we can continue to work collaboratively in order to secure the delivery of much needed high-quality housing in Oldham.”
The council’s planning portal shows 25 objections to the original plans and another six to the current application.
A spokesperson for Oldham Council said: “It is presently anticipated the application will be considered at Planning Committee on August 28, 2019.
“No appeal has been submitted to date in respect of the previous refusal. Any appeal must be submitted within six months of the refusal date i.e. by October 8, 2019.