PLANS to build three houses at land in Lydgate have been thrown out again after an appeal was made against Oldham Council’s refusal.
And the Planning Inspectorate believes allowing work to take place at Stockport Road would destroy Green Belt land and detract from buildings around it.
Applicant S Leigh, via Emery Planning, went to the appeal body after the authority said no on April 14.
But inspector Frances Cullen found in favour of the original decision, to the delight of local councillors and campaigners.
The effect allowing the proposal would have on the neighbouring St Anne’s church and White Hart restaurant was also highlighted.
In her report, she states: “The proposal would not preserve, and would have an adverse effect on, the openness of the Green Belt.
“Three new dwellings in this location would manifestly interrupt and detract from some key views of the assets, including the church from Stockport Road and the White Hart from the A669, fundamentally weakening their landmark function and significance.
“The proposal would detrimentally diminish important attributes of the buildings’ wider settings and profoundly affect how the assets are experienced.
“In turn, this would lessen the positive contribution that their settings make to their significance as well as reduce the ability to appreciate that significance.”
It stated: “There is no basis for suggesting that the principle of three numbered dwellings in this location, which falls within the village of Lydgate as acknowledged by the Council, would undermine the general character and appearance of the area.
“The properties along Stockport Road are laid out in linear fashion and this reflects the character of the built form of Lydgate.
“The proposed development would reflect this linear pattern of development by infilling the gap that exists between existing buildings.”
However, the inspector dismissed those claims, adding: “I have found that the proposal would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt which is, by definition, harmful and should not be approved except in very special circumstances.
“I have also found that the proposal would result in harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.
“I give this harm considerable importance and weight. This would not be outweighed by the moderate weight I attach to the public benefits that would accrue from the proposal.
“I conclude that the proposal would not preserve the settings of the nearby Grade II listed buildings.
“The contribution that the settings of the church and the White Hart make to their significance would be diminished, which would result in harm to the overall significance of these designated heritage assets.”
News of the dismissal delighted independent Saddleworth Parish councillor Helen Bishop, who has worked with the community to oppose the plan.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear that the Planning Inspectorate has come down on the side of common sense and helped us protect this important part of the local landscape.
“This was absolutely, 100 per cent, the result of good teamwork and is representative of the power that the community has to defend itself against harmful developments if provided with the right information and support, at the right time.
“I’m over the moon with the way the residents of Lydgate and surrounding area turned up when it mattered and fought for their village, and they deserve every bit of the credit for this.
“We even had people fresh from the battle at Boarshurst in Greenfield putting in their objections, because this was definitely something that could have had a disastrous knock-on effect for other applications had it not been dismissed, as planning decisions have to demonstrate consistency.
“The battle was fought and won on informed, technical planning issues and not on emotion, and that is what delivered this brilliant result.”