DELIGHTED LOCALS who feared a disused Austerlands quarry may be turned into a landfill are celebrating Oldham Council’s decision to allow housing on the site.
Residents welcomed the approval of outline planning permission for development of homes at Birks Quarry on the main A62 Oldham-Huddersfield Road.
Despite most of the site being in the green belt the Council decided the very special circumstances needed to approve a housing development in the green belt have been met.
Robert Knotts, chairman of the Birks Quarry Action group, said: “It’s extremely welcome news.
“With this in place we understand the current quarry owner will now relinquish the planning permission granted many years ago for tipping operations in the quarry.
“The potential of tipping has hung over the community for many years. This planning application approval removes threat.”
The Council granted approval for the residential development following clearance from the Government.
The scheme provides for 36 family houses with a new and improved access on to Huddersfield Road where unused traffic lights are situated.
The houses will be built in the bowl of the quarry and will be not readily visible from Huddersfield Road or the surrounding area due to the shape of the terrain.
Final details of the scheme will depend on the developers and a further detailed application covering design layout, appearance and landscaping of the housing scheme.
The approval also requires a detailed design of the junction layout, which will include traffic signals, to be submitted before development commences.
A full ecological appraisal will be carried to protect and enhance the wildlife habitat, including a lighting plan to ensuring the feeding and commuting behaviour of bats is not compromised.
Alan Chorlton of Chorlton Planning Ltd, agents for the application, said: “We are pleased Oldham Council has approved the application following clearance from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
“In this case, the approval of the application has removed the spectre of tipping in the former quarry and its use for housing will be of great benefit to the local community.”
He added: “In my view, this is an example of good town planning with the Government, Oldham Council, Saddleworth Parish Council, the local community and the land owners working together to secure the right development for the site.”