Lydgate ‘suffragette’ field earmarked for home development

A FIELD in Lydgate, thought to be the birthplace of the suffragette movement, could become part of the site for a three storey, five-bedroomed house.

The proposed property with internal double garage on land between number four Stockport Road and St Anne’s Church has been described as a potential “monstrosity” by a Parish Councillor.

Saddleworth Parish Council’s planning committee has already recommended refusal of the green field development covering 1,600 square metres.

David and Helen

Opposition by individuals has been also logged on the planning portal of Oldham Council’s website.

And after residents’ complaints about lack of consultation time, the local authority has extended the deadline for responses to Thursday, February 25, 2021.

The Independent reported in 2017 how Helen Leach and Grasscroft-based work colleague Danny Brierley discovered how the prominent spot – above the Lydgate rail tunnel – hosted a meeting of social reformers on May 4, 1818.

This was 61 years before the birth of Springhead-raised suffragette Annie Kenney.At the time, Oxford University graduate Helen said: “Everything points to this particular field being the site of the meeting; the meeting being the first recorded one where women were treated equally to men.”

It was almost another century before women, courtesy of the actions of Kenney, finally received the vote.

“It is, however, fair to say that the beginnings of female emancipation in the UK originate in a field in Lydgate,” added Helen. The pair wanted Oldham Council to consider erecting a blue plaque in the area.

Plans are on the village noticeboard in Lydgate

Opponents of the scheme have left Oldham planners in no doubt about the strength of feeling.

One person wrote: “If the application to build is approved, it could set a precedent for further developers to move in and fill the surrounding fields with over-sized and over-priced houses.”

Another said: “It is an insult to the entire Lydgate community that such a selfish eyesore would even be considered to be built.

“I wholeheartedly object to the proposal that one single residential property should change such an iconic landscape that has stood unadulterated for hundreds of years.”

A third commented: “That someone thought to build in this location is insensitive and selfish and beggars’ belief in my opinion. It will cause great consternation locally.”

Increased traffic levels were a concern to many. One objector said: “Stockport Road already suffers from congestion around that area and having extensive building work ongoing will worsen the situation to a dangerous level.”

Parish councillor Max Woodvine, said: “This house is a monstrosity. It doesn’t marry up with any buildings in Lydgate and is completely out of character for the conservation area.

“As a village it needs cottages, not modern mansions. This will spoil St Anne’s Church and the surrounding countryside.”

The application was received by OMBC on Christmas Eve and on January 25 nine neighbouring properties were notified by letter. A site notice was displayed on January 21.

The application (FUL/346015/20) has been submitted by Manchester based Grant Erskine Architects.

A design and access planning statement states: “This document seeks to demonstrate that the proposal is the result of a formal and thoughtful design process and that the scheme proposed is a response to site context, access into and within, materials and architectural detail and that a sustainable approach has been followed.”

It continues: “The application seeks to create a new dwelling on the site of exceptional design quality and green credentials, sympathetically sitting in context, but also with a view to create a property which is visually appreciated by those viewing the site from a distance on local roads.

“Consideration has been given to the scale and massing of the building, taking advantage of the site levels, to create an approach which allows the proposed to be sunken and sit comfortably with its neighbouring buildings.”

The application can be viewed online at:

13 Replies to “Lydgate ‘suffragette’ field earmarked for home development”

  1. Some people will oppose anything being built in their area. The house would stir a lot of jealousy from locals. However, I don’t believe it would be allowed if only due to being located right on top of the Lydgate tunnel. This is already an unstable tunnel so there is no way Network Rail would recommend approval.

  2. I cannot believe that such a monstrous build as this could even be considered in this area. It is totally out of character and is filling a massive footprint just for 1 dwelling. The whole character of Lydgate will be lost and the chaos with building wagons and congestion will go on for months causing major traffic issues on an already busy road

  3. Why not just put The kardashians there or maybe Disneyland… this proposal smacks of the same insensitivity and greediness.
    Get rid of a herd of cows from this Pasteur land and plant a great big modern mansion for the benefit of one family there instead . Ignore the laws of the green belt, the conservations area and the heritage value of this quaint village. Shocking !

  4. It is very disappointing that these people feel it is ok to so blatantly abuse the green belt laws – they clearly have little respect for the countryside. That they think it is appropriate to come into a beautiful village and build something so out of character is in fact quite depressing.

  5. I am very surprised and disappointed that any private property is being planned here. When the land was up for sale I thought the sign said ‘agricultural use’?
    Regardless of the scale and design, which is not in keeping with the local heritage style, surely as green belt this should not be allowed. This opens the door to building on other green plots in the area. Many have been turned down previously…what makes this one different?

  6. The basic premise of an ill-proportioned single dwelling on this site is such a ridiculous one that I have faith that OMBC planning dept give this short shrift. Pity the applicant who has obviously spent a princely sum with a City Centre architectural firm who should be embarrassed to put their name to this. The design is nigh-on laughable (especially in light of the fact that the applicant seeks to “create a new dwelling on the site of exceptional design quality”)…a slab form of 1980’s Sunday School pastiche. A weak nod to the church by way of a Lych-gate shaped glass atrium/entrance. Saddleworth deserves carefully considered architectural excellence (be that historic or contemporary additions to the landscape) and sadly this is another example of a generic UK spec-build design philosophy which neither comprehends nor respects the local vernacular and heritage. I find it rather saddening.

  7. Such a build would completely undermine the principles employed in designating this area a site of Conservation; a cuckoo in the wrong nest.

  8. I understood Lydgate to be a conversation area . How on earth is this proposed development adding anything the this wonderful area . I hope the planning department carefully consider this application and do the right thing for the conservation of Lydgate.

  9. There is a long history of wealthy individuals building large houses for their families in Saddleworth. This is no different to the Victorian and Edwardian stone mansions that litter the back waters of Saddleworth, a nod to the wealth once seen here in the industrial revolution. The problem, for many, is that wealth is back and they just don’t like it. It’s old fashioned Yorkshire jealousy wrapped up in the emperors new clothes of ‘context’ and ‘history. The objectors don’t care about context they’re just wrapped up in their own insecurities about wealth and power, Little England personified.

    If I had the money to build this I wouldn’t build it in such a NIMBY backwater. What’s the point? There must be more exciting and progressive communities to be a part of?

    1. Now you mention it, it is so very obvious that the “jealous”, “insecure” folk of Saddleworth must make this area so unappealing to live in that no “wealthy individuals” would ever wish to move here. You’re quite correct – the applicant must have been thinking exactly the same thing when they spent £1,000’s on the opportunity to build a family home here! Perhaps you can suggest your own blissful Shangri-La where people will be free to build whatever they want, wherever they want without consideration for their fellow inhabitants?
      It’s nothing to do with jealousy but all to do with being respectful to the location and those Victorian family houses did just this in the past. However much it seems the case here, size and and good design are not mutually exclusive,

  10. Fantastic to hear about the history of the site. What’s not so fantastic is the poor residential design that is being proposed. It’s an architectural luddite solution on what is a sensitive site. Any development on that site needs to be discrete & enhance the quality of its local context. I think a fresh sheet of paper & some sharper pencils are maybe needed on this one.

  11. I’m quite distressed to think that the proposal to build a property so out of character with the locality might even be given consideration. It will spoil the entrance to this small and pretty village of Lydgate, which locals have done alot to improve and maintain. It is a conservation area and green belt. If this property is allowed to be built on this small piece of land it will be a travesty. Theres no jealousy or nimbyisms just incredulous of the whole idea!!!

  12. Once the builders/applicants get refused planning permission they wiljust tweak their plans to appease Ombc! Happened to me for 5 years. Builders finally got their way. Work started last year with 5 houses on a 1/3 of an acre site!

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