RESIDENTS have been left confused and concerned after a second application for 265 homes in Lees, Springhead and Grotton was submitted – before a final outcome on the first.
But they have vowed to keep fighting the proposals, submitted by Barton Wilmore on behalf of Russell Homes, for the large development and a link road between Knowls Lane and Ashbrook Road.
The original hybrid application was rejected by Oldham Council’s planning committee last December despite recommendation for approval by planning officers.
Concerns were raised about “the loss of OPOL 12 land and subsequent landscape harm and harm to the visual amenity of the Wharmton Undulating Uplands, LCA and Thornley wooded valley landscape”.
But an appeal was lodged by Russell Homes with the Planning Inspectorate and the hearing is expected to last four days from July 23 at Oldham’s Civic Centre.
However, residents were then baffled to receive letters stating a second hybrid planning application was submitted to Oldham Council at the end of April.
Save Our Valleys, who have been campaigning against the development for two-and-a-half years, said: “The appeal is still happening so a lot of residents were left confused and concerned to find out about another planning application taking place at the same time.
“All we can think is Russell Homes think they are going to lose the appeal and so are trying to get this through Oldham planning instead.
“It is basically the same thing again but they have called the area rural and looked at changes to land supply.
“But in their own documents they have referred to Lees Village – and the definition of a village is that it is rural!
“They say if you’re standing at the site you can see parts of Oldham and Manchester and electricity pylons so it must be an urban area, which is nonsense!
“And if you can see other urban areas all around, surely the green spaces in between shouldn’t be removed?”
They added: “If there is a new application, why have we not had another public consultation? People deserve to be told what’s going on.
“The new application was sent to Saddleworth Parish Council only four working days ahead of their planning meeting which is not enough time to read all those documents properly.”
A special Parish Council planning meeting is being organised for Thursday, June 20 for councillors to give a recommendation on the plans ahead of a decision by Oldham Council.