A PUBLIC consultation period over plans for 265 new homes in Springhead has been extended after difficulties accessing documents on Oldham Council’s website.
The planning application for the homes at Knowls Lane was submitted in October by planning consultancy Barton Willmore on behalf of Russell Homes UK Ltd.
The hybrid application includes the development of a new link road between Knowls Lane to Ashbrook Road and associated works, and outline application for the development of up to 265 dwellings and 530 car parking spaces, associated infrastructure, open space, and landscaping.
However, some of the supporting documents were not made available online at the same time due to the files being too large to upload.
A member of the Save Our Valleys group, which is campaigning against the development. said: “When some residents contacted the planning department about this they were told the files are large and take a long time to upload.
“But this should not be to the detriment of residents – the information should have been available before the consultation period was set.
“The date given for the statutory 21-day consultation period has been given as the 15th November without the necessary information being available and many residents feel they are being kept in the dark.”
The member added: “Many residents who live adjacent or in close proximity to the proposed development have not received notification from Oldham Council.
“There are residents who live backing on to the land, close by or very near to where the two junctions will be created who feel angry they have not been included in the notification letter and many have contacted the planning department about this.”
A spokesperson for Oldham Council confirmed there was an issue with uploading the large files but documents would be online as soon as possible and the consultation period has been extended to December 7, 2017.
In the application for the homes, Craig Barnes, senior planner for Barton Willmore, wrote: “The proposal represents a sustainable development that would deliver material benefits for Lees, including the provision of much needed link road alongside new homes (including affordable housing), creation of job opportunities, new spending in the local economy and additional revenue from the Government’s new home bonus scheme.”
However, the plans have drawn numerous concerns from locals and councillors over loss of green space, the new road, noise, effect on the environment and wildlife, and the strain on schools, doctors and transport.
52 per cent of the site, some of which is council-owned and some privately, is safeguarded land for residential development under saved policy H1.2 of the Oldham Unitary Development Plan, while the other 48 per cent is OPOL (other protected open land).
Cllr Adrian Alexander, who is supporting the campaign against the development, said: “This type of development is not truly affordable.
“It is OPAL land and its purpose is to be a green stretch between two conurbations – not fill it with more houses.
“Research has shown that going out to a green space can help reduce stress levels. In our hectic lifestyles of today it is crucial we keep these sorts of areas.
“The brook runs through the valley and there are concerns the building will cause flooding, as we’ve seen in other places where springs and streams have been built over.”
Find out more on Facebook /saveourvalleyslees