DEBBIE Abrahams warns any future housing development on the Fletchers Mill site in Greenfield must address access issues caused by visitor numbers to Dovestone Reservoir.
A total of 171 homes are proposed to be built in the vicinity of the one-time paper mill site (now named Chew Brook Vale) as contained in the controversial Greater Manchester Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment.
Councillors are voting on all of Oldham’s contribution to the Plan – also known as the Spatial Framework – at a special meeting tonight (Wednesday, November 25).
However, Stockport and Salford councillors have already voted to defer their decision. All 10 GM boroughs have to vote in favour of the plan before it goes out for one last public consultation next month.
Mrs Abrahams, Member of Parliament for Oldham East and Saddleworth says she still “has concerns” over proposals contained in the document.
“Since the GMSF consultation began, I have been contacted by constituents, sharing with me with their comments and concerns,” she said.
“I would urge them to feed into the consultation which is due to take place this winter.
“I did not support the previous GMSF iterations and I still have a number of concerns.
“The Fletcher’s Mill site has been included in the GMSF from its inception.
“Although there have been improvements, including affordable housing being incorporated into the revised draft GMSF, I remain concerned about the de-designation of greenbelt land and how developers may be able to circumvent the affordable homes provision with the Government’s proposals in their Planning White Paper to relax planning development.
“Any development at the site must deal with the access issues that can currently take place at Dovestone during busy periods.
“The Council’s submission makes it clear that serious investment must be made to improve the access to the site, which includes a new bridge at the Clarence roundabout.
“It must also deal with drainage issues that have seen an increased risk of flooding in Greenfield and more widely across Saddleworth.
“I will need assurance that in addition to protections of the greenbelt, any development also incorporates affordable housing, and deals with access, drainage and the social infrastructure issues.
“The GMSF needs to be seen in the context of the proposed changes to the planning system in the Government’s White Paper.
“These changes would mean automatically granting outline planning permission for ‘growth zones’, removing the ability for local residents to raise concerns.
“If these proposals go ahead, there will be increased housing targets in Oldham, which, as my petition on the issue states, are already unrealistically high.
“This will put even more greenbelt at risk. There are also real terms cuts in funding for affordable housing proposed.
“My real concern is that the Government may take the decision out of our hands locally and hand it directly to the developers.”