New village for Saddleworth proposed in local plan

A NEW village would be created in Saddleworth if a local plan put out for consultation is approved.

More train stations in the area would be supported, along with an extra bus route connecting the villages and maybe extending the Metrolink system to the parish.

The Neighbourhood Plan, which looks at the next 20 years, has been published.

But while creating an entirely separate entity at the site of Robert Fletcher Mill is among the proposals, its main point is protecting the area.

Saddleworth Parish Council has produced the document, saying: “This plan will help to shape what happens in the Parish of Saddleworth over the next 20 years.”

Among 25 policies put forward are some eye-catching ideas, most notably what happens to the Fletcher’s Mill site at Chew Brook Vale, near Greenfield.

Fletchers’ Mill site in Greenfield. Image by GGC Media

Under the Places for Everyone framework, which has recently been adopted, up to 90 new homes plus 6,000 sq m of commercial, leisure and retail space will be created on the brownfield section of the abandoned paper producer.

And the plan states: “The village should be a place in its own right, one with its own identity and heritage, and a name which reflects the history of the locality.

“The intention is to ensure that the development on the site of the former Fletcher’s Paper Mill at Chew Brook Vale creates a real ‘place,’ a small village surrounded by countryside, and typical of ones in a National Park setting.

“It has the benefit of an outstandingly beautiful setting and has an important connection to a significant aspect of Saddleworth’s industrial history.

Among 25 policies put forward are some eye-catching ideas, most notably what happens to the Fletcher’s Mill site at Chew Brook Vale, near Greenfield. Image by GGC Media

“This site should not be developed in the manner of a suburban housing estate. There is the opportunity for a truly exceptional scheme.

“The development should create a place which fully reflects the character of Saddleworth. It should be one where people will be eager to live, but also where some will work.

“It should be an attractive destination for day visitors and longer stay tourists, providing them with facilities such as shops, a café and a restaurant that this local area currently lacks.

“These will add to the visitor experience and be used by local residents. They will create jobs in the village and boost the local economy.

“The reuse of buildings from previous eras will give the village a distinctive identity and provide an important memory of the unique history of the site.”

The Neighbourhood Plan looks at many issues, including public transport – Greenfield is the only railway station in Oldham and it is three miles to the nearest tram stop.

However, as well as the development of the station, part of the TransPennine Route Upgrade, other methods are examined.

It adds: “Development which addresses the accessibility restrictions at Greenfield Station and the provision of additional stations in the Parish will be supported.

“The Parish Council welcomes Oldham Council’s support for a future Bee Network pass, including support for developments which include provision of Bee Network passes as part of the development.

“A rural bus service which takes into account alternatives to the traditional bus services should be introduced in order to meet the needs of all the villages.

“There is a need for long-term thinking about integrated public transport, which could include the extension of the Metrolink tram system into Saddleworth, and the Parish Council would be interested to hear proposals for improved systems.”

The area’s environment is also a big consideration, with promoting and encouraging its stewardship and conservation and the number of ‘barn conversions’ into homes looked at.

It continues: “The Saddleworth landscape is fragile. The stretches of countryside between and around the Saddleworth villages are narrow.

“They are under great pressure from various types of development even though much of the land is within the Green Belt.

“It would be very easy for all the great benefits provided by the Saddleworth landscapes to be eroded.

“It should not be the case that agricultural buildings can be erected in the green belt and subsequently converted to housing simply to avoid restrictions on housebuilding in the green belt.

“The high volume of this type of development is a very significant threat to the character and beauty of the very open, but narrow, areas of countryside in Saddleworth.

“All development in Saddleworth should be of a high quality of design. The design should complement and enhance the distinct local character and identity of Saddleworth’s villages.

“We are very clear that Saddleworth must not become just a commuter area for Greater Manchester and the West Yorkshire conurbation.

“The particular qualities which make Saddleworth such an asset to the North of England must be conserved and enhanced.”

The plan is out for consultation for the next 10 weeks. After that, Saddleworth Parish Council will publish responses and make any changes that come out of it.

It will then be submitted to a Neighbourhood Plan Inspector, who will ensure it is legally watertight, then put to a referendum for locals to vote before it can become law.

A public meeting will be held at Saddleworth Civic Hall on April 16 at 7pm to discuss the proposals.

Barbara Beeley, chair of Saddleworth Parish Council’s Strategic Planning Committee, which led the plan’s development, said: “Every policy in this document was either suggested by residents or created to address a problem which residents raised.

“The local community has been involved throughout and we’re incredibly grateful to the volunteers from each of the village associations who have been attending the meetings.

“We aren’t proposing any new developments. We’ve just looked at what people said needs to be improved over the next 20 years, and if we could do it, we did it.

“We hope that shows in the policies. The feedback we’ve had so far has been extremely positive, and we hope that continues, but we’re in residents’ hands.”

The consultation is open until midnight on June 10. Summaries of the plan are being delivered to the 12,000 homes across the Parish, which people can comment on and feedback via freepost, or online at

12 Replies to “New village for Saddleworth proposed in local plan”

  1. I’d be interested to know who the residents are that have been consulted. Why don’t we just knock down the buildings and let Mother Nature take over

    1. YOU are being consulted. It’s a 10 week public consultation, so I’ve you’ve something to say, now is your opportunity!

      1. I enjoy a good joke as much as the next person; but the notion that an OMBC consultation will ever be anything more than an exercise in box ticking, disingenuous and cosmetic is about as fatuous a notion as I can think of.

  2. I think Greenfield is already overdeveloped.

    Any planning permission at the old Fletcher’s site should consider the mill drive access to Dovestones , which is used by many local people.

    This not currently a public right of way and will be closed if nothing is done.

    The Planning department should insist this is made public right of way / cycle path BEFORE any development is considered .


  3. People have to live somewhere. I’d welcome a vibrant community rather than the derelict mess that is there now. But, has been alluded to above, a ‘new’ village needs public transport, school, surgery and dental capacity and other ancillary facilities – shop? post office? place of worship? – so it is a real community – not a sterile dormitory estate.

    1. Yes right on paul that’s what Greenfield needs l used to work in the cigarette room in the seventies what a wonderful hard working social place it was trainee plumbers electricians joiners painting n decoraters social club always packed with functions beautiful tennis courts and bowling green I wept the last time l went up the driveway how awful it easy and how the greedy owners had left it it all needs what you say it needs to be

  4. This would be huge source of new revenue for OMBC so of course they’re all in favor of it and that’s why it will happen regardless.

    As for another of OMBC’s infamous, “consultations,” does anyone take those remotely seriously, anyone at all ?

    I can still remember attending one such consultation, about the future of the LINK center which even as we were supposed to be being consulted about it was already cut and dried and had already been decided behind closed doors and builder already booked in to gut the place.

  5. We have not got the infrastructure ie hospitals we have an outdated sewage system access to public services we have not had investment schools Doctors surgery the sports centre is the smallest in Oldham
    My personal view we need to apply for township for Uppermill increase national park to include all the villages of Saddleworth and to achieve this we will get funding from the government because we will have town status we would have to leave Oldham MBC just my opinion

  6. The site is a derelict mess (like Bailey Mill, Delph, burnt down 8 years ago and the site not cleared). There is a need for new housing, and of a quality which will attract innovative people who will enhance the locality.
    Yes the GP provision needs to radically improved as does the Leisure Sports facility, but that needs to occur irrespective of new housing. Again with public transport there are significant challenges.
    However the ‘do nothing/NIMBY’ attitude will help further decay in Saddleworth.
    The development of housing would be a lever to put pressure on the Health, Transport, Leisure Services.
    The danger of doing nothing could see Saddleworth begin to seriously stagnate, and rather than be an attractive place to live, become a gloomy back water.

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