Judicial review challenge to housing development?

A GROUP of Greenfield residents is considering a court challenge to Oldham planners’ decision to grant approval for a luxury 20-home development on land off Shaw Hall Bank Road.

The outcome of discussion with legal experts could be an appeal to seek a judicial review.
Campaigners were left angry and dismayed after Wiggett Construction’s proposals for the site bordering on to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal received the green light from Oldham Planning Committee on Wednesday, March 13.

Only one committee member, veteran Saddleworth South councillor John Hudson, voted to reject the plans.

Earlier in the meeting, chaired by Royton south councillor Cllr Steve Bashforth a proposal for 77 dwellings on land to the east of Hebron Street and Brownlow Avenue, Royton was rejected against the advice of chief planner Stephen Irvine.

The committee also deferred another controversial reserved matters application for 23 homes at land off Haven Lane in Moorside.

Now Shaw Vale Action Group has highlighted concerns to OMBC, including leader Cllr Sean Fielding, as to how confirmation was reached.

They claim information provided to the committee was “misleading, incorrect or missing.”

Research for and by the group suggests the proposed development would contravene the Equalities Act 2000 and OMBC’s policy on acceptable gradients for new access roads in that it discriminates against wheelchair users.

In reply to a query from campaigners asking what gradient of road to new housing developments would be accepted, an email from the council stated: “The gradients accepted by the council is in line with the Government Document ‘inclusive mobility’ – a 1:12 slope is the maximum permitted with 1:20 being preferred.”

Residents have also rejected a further suggestion the gradient of the access road from the new development on to Shaw Hall Bank Road would be improved to 1:11.5.

An independent topographical survey report states the gradient of the proposed access road following improvements for all 20 metres before the junction will be at best 1:10 and as steep as 1:9.4.

Spokesperson Howard Smith said: “The fact is, no plan has been made available by the developer or the planning department showing the actual gradient of the access road once completed.

“The plan referred to on the day of the meeting merely showed existing levels and no gradient is stated.

“Furthermore, it is now apparent that ‘improving’ the gradient to even 1:9.4 will necessitate raising the current access track at the rear of existing properties by 0.5 metres.

“Residents were completely unaware of this major change which will raise the level of the road to above that of their adjoining gardens.

“Without this information residents could not object on the grounds of this material consideration.

“Shaw Vale Action Group is actively taking legal advice and if appropriate will be seeking permission for a judicial review into this decision.”

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