Diggle’s green fight

A VILLAGE is fighting a two-pronged battle to save its green spaces.

BATTLE: Site of the proposed houses (Photo by Ray Withnall)
BATTLE: Site of the proposed houses (Photo by Ray Withnall)

Diggle Community Association is combatting plans by First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) to build two houses – despite them being approved the council – by trying to officially register the area as a village green.

“Residents should not feel that, just because planning permission has been given, development is inevitable: the fight to save the green goes on,” said a DCA spokesperson.

“We have been willing to accept the argument affordable housing is needed. But we do not think this well-loved green space is the best site.”

If the application is successful, the area – which has been used for more than 90 years – would become the community’s forever and development would be prohibited.

An FCHO spokesperson said: “Planning application for two new affordable homes has been approved by Oldham Council.

“It is our intention to object to the application made by the DCA for village green status. Until the application is decided we will not be developing this site.”

DCA is also battling to secure land at Ward Lane which has put up for sale by OMBC and could lead to the development of more houses.

Working with Cllr Garth Harkness, they hope to use the Communities’ Right to Bid under the Localism Act to prevent the loss of another green space and instead create more village allotments.

“The site could provide an excellent educational resource for children to discover more about their environment, plants and growing their own food,” added the DCA spokesperson.

“DCA sees this as a real opportunity to provide an asset which everyone could benefit from. We have already received considerable support.”

An OMBC spokesperson said: “Ward Lane Diggle is one of a number of sites which the council recently advertised, being land that is open space and potentially available for disposal. The closing date for objections is between March 5 and 12.

“The site in question has currently not been considered surplus to requirements and has not formally been approved for disposal.”

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