Developer defends plans for Delph eco camp despite access concerns

PROTESTING VILLAGERS have raised the temperature over plans to build a high quality eco-camping site in a redundant quarry in Delph.

p7 geoff and mo woods
Geoff and Mo woods

Concerns focus on safety aspects of access roads leading to the proposed site on Thurston Clough Road and worries about wild life.

But Geoff Woods, a retired construction company director, has defended his eco plan for the three-acre site off Thurston Clough Road.

Mr Woods and his wife Mo, deputy head at St Edwards school, Lees, are seeking to install nine ‘glamping’ pods, ten camping plots and one 12-person yurt with existing site access to meet current standards with a minimum of 32 car parking plots.

Amenities would include a block with toilet, shower, disabled facilities and separate communal kitchen facilities.

In addition there would be an office/site shop with staff accommodation, a small amenities block with toilets, shower and a shipping container for storage.

Mr Woods said: “This will be a small, family-run business providing a unique experience for people who love the great outdoors, welcoming walkers, climbers and cyclists.”

Thurston Clough Road
Thurston Clough Road

But former OMBC councillor Lynne Thompson and her husband Stuart, who live on Stoneswood Road, have already registered their objections with Oldham planners.

Said Lynne: “The site entrance is on a long, sharp blind bend and there would be severe risk of accidents.

“Access roads are already overburdened, very few houses have off road parking and Stoneswood Road and Thurston Clough Road are very congested and narrow at Scouthead.

“Camper vans, camping trailers and caravans would not pass easily and some would be hard put to reverse at all, let alone safely.

“The entrance to Stoneswood Road is awkward – a hairpin turn which many vehicles have to take the wrong side of the King Street to be able to enter and some larger vehicles find too tight.”

Stoneswood Road
Stoneswood Road

She added: “The condition of Thurston Clough Road is appalling due to water erosion and crude repair. There are deep potholes and whole sections are disintegrating.”

Saddleworth Parish Councillor Derek Heffernan echoed her concerns about traffic and the state of the road.

He said: “The junction at Delph is appalling. Visitors will not be aware and cars will be reversing back into the village by the Library near a blind bend.

“Who will pay for the upgrade of Stoneswood Road?  We could not agree to increased use if a major upgrade was not completed.”

Diane Bolan, who lives with husband David at a farm on Thurston Clough Road at Scouthead, added her worries.

She said: “The potential of a large volume of people coming to a very quiet rural area will impact on residents.

“Narrow lanes and tight bends are already a hazard and there is a danger to horse riders, walkers and drivers. As it is, you take your life in your hands.”

Phillida Shipp, chair of Delph Community Association, said: “At first this proposal appears to be an appropriate development that would help local businesses.

“But against this is the view the development would destroy a haven for wildlife.”

The application is to come before OMBC planning committee in the next few months.

 

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