Plans for housing estate on High Crompton protected green land approved

By Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter

PLANS for a new housing estate to be built on protected green land in High Crompton have been approved despite more than 150 objections.

Developer Miller Homes has been granted permission to build 42 ‘family’ houses on land behind Denbigh Drive

The land is allocated as ‘other protected open land’ (OPOL), which is less protected than green belt but is recognised as important as ‘it helps preserve the distinctiveness of an area’.

However the site has been earmarked for development as part of the Cowlishaw allocation of the ‘Places for Everyone’ masterplan.

Under the plans there would be 22 three-bed homes and 20 four-bed dwellings. Each property would have front and rear gardens and off-street car parking.

There had been originally 50 homes proposed by the developer, but this was reduced following objections by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit who were concerned it would interfere with a site of biological importance (SBI) in the east.

The council’s planning officers had recommended the plans for approval, subject to the completion of Section 106 agreement for a financial contribution of £100,000 towards existing open space.

Case officer Matthew Taylor said: “It is considered that the amended scheme incorporates measures to prevent harm to the SBI and the proposed layout provides for outward views from the public domain over the remaining rest of the OPOL designation.

“Given the absence of a five-year housing land supply, it is considered that the harm would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the inherent benefits of the scheme.”

However Councillor Barbara Brownridge said: “I’m slightly concerned that we are pre-empting the Places for Everyone policy but we’re also watering it down because we’re not having the comprehensive masterplan that that strategy needs.

“I’m just a bit worried about picking away at strategic sites before they’ve been fully considered.”

Head of planning Peter Richards said: “You make a totally fair and reasonable point.

“While in strict planning policy terms it is not in accordance with the development plan, we as a council have accepted the principle of housing on this site.

“We have already granted permission for half of the Cowlishaw allocation to be developed. It’s almost like a masterplan would be too late now.

“In a perfect world we would have preferred to do a masterplan first.”

Objector Alan Rait urged the committee to listen to the concerns of neighbours about the road issues around Denbigh Drive, and the sewage problems already on site which would be exacerbated by the development.

“The application shows 151 objections against only five in favour. How can you ignore the people who live here?” he said. “What’s being proposed is destruction, not construction.

“I have to question the soundness of the application – 42 aspirational homes will bring at least 80 cars, the access is barely wide enough for two cars side by side.”

Ward councillor Dave Murphy also spoke against the application raising concern about the drainage on the site, and the effect on local wildlife.

He said: “Other OPOL sites in Oldham have been saved and I respectfully ask the planning committee to save this site too.

“For me if I were in your shoes I’d be killing this application.”

Nichola Burns, speaking on behalf of Miller Homes said they had been through a ‘very thorough’ planning process on the application.

“The development itself is designed to respond to the existing features and sensitivities of the site,” she added.

“There is a clear and convincing justification for the scheme in order to supply a development that will meet a housing need.”

Committee member Cllr Brian Hobin said: “As a committee at some point we’ve got to stand up and fight for the residents. I wouldn’t like to be getting that next to my house.

“There’s no way that I’d want to support this application.”

He and Cllr Diane Williamson moved that they reject the application, but this was defeated at the vote. It was then approved by a majority of councillors.

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