Community rallies against quarry development plans

SADDLEWORTH Parish Council has added its voice to residents’ objections against plans for up to 158 homes to be built in Springhead Quarry.

The proposal has been submitted to Oldham Council by the Stonebreaks Group Limited in partnership with development company the Millson Group.

The documents state that the development off Cooper Street would be a mix of “affordable dwellings, high value family homes and homes for first time buyers as well as housing for older persons.”

They add: “The scheme centres on several green walking routes which will connect the different areas of the site and provide links between the individual elements of the scheme as well as out into areas of the green belt.”

However, 72 objections have so far been submitted on Oldham Council’s planning portal, and two supporting comments.

Saddleworth Parish Council’s planning committee voted in favour of recommending refusal for the application at its April meeting.

Cllr Rob Knotts, chair of the committee, said: “Saddleworth Parish Council vigorously opposed the application and recommended refusal.

“The site has very poor public transport infrastructure features, a key area in planning applications for major developments, and it is also an area of specialist biological interest.

“Developing the site will remove the last remaining open space in Springhead.”

Other concerns raised by the committee included so many houses increasing the population and impacting heavily on demand for health services and severe concerns over road transport safety around access to the site.

They added that the development of nearby Knowls Lane must not be used as a precedent to grant permission for developing this site.

Other issues highlighted by residents at the meeting as well as in comments online include the need to protect Other Protected Open Land (OPOL) and the environment, as well as loss of privacy and visual amenity due to the scale of the planned development.

One resident said: “This application should be rejected because it is not sustainable in relation to travel, environment and local facilities such as doctors, dentists and schools.

“This ward is already overdeveloped, particularly following the approval of houses at Knowls Lane.

“There will be a significant traffic safety issue on Cooper Street and further congestion on Oldham Road both locally and nearer to the town centre because the usage has been under stated and Knowls Lane development has not been included. There is also likely to be an impact on Huddersfield Road which has not been assessed at all.

“We recognise the land is privately owned and would suggest it could be used for rentable paddocks and allotments with the rights of way improved and the quarry edge protected with a wall and planting as proposed.

“A small private development could be built in the quarry as it is previously developed land.”
A previous application to build 200 homes on the site was submitted but then withdrawn in 2020 by the applicant..

A decision is expected from Oldham Council’s planning committee on this latest application by June 14, 2022.

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