MORE than 120 locals stepped out for a ‘Save our Valleys’ walk to show their concerns over plans to build 265 homes in Springhead, Lees and Grotton.
The proposals were unveiled in July by Russell Homes who want to build the family homes at land north of Knowls Lane and a new link road through Thornley Brook Valley and Ashbrook Valley.
The 40-acre green space – one of the last in Springhead – is popular with walkers, riders and children, and home to much wildlife including herons, owls, bats, badgers.
The plans to replace it with homes have been met by concern and anger by many residents and councillors, who wish to save the area.
The ‘Save Our Valleys’ group have launched a petition and held the ‘Save Our Valleys’ walk last month to show their objections to the plans.
Joanne Marshall, a member of the group, said: “The amount of people at the walk shows the strength of feeling of local people against these plans.
There were adults, children, dog walkers, cyclists – people of all ages and interests who enjoy using the field in all seasons and don’t want to lose it.”
Another committee member added: “Talking to some of the people there it was apparent they had not fully understood the scale of the development – the landscaping, filling in of the river valley and 265 homes.”
Joanne, who has lives at Thornley Park Road in Grotton for 13 years, continued: “Our house is right on the back of where they want to build and my view at the moment is green fields – but all that will be gone.
“No one wants to lose their view – but that’s not my biggest worry. My concerns are around the infrastructure and the congestion.
“The proposal of 265 homes is just too many. The village doesn’t have the infrastructure to absorb that size of development.
“We have a small village school which is already over-subscribed, as are others nearby, so where are they going to send the children?
“And if existing residents can’t get an appointment at the doctors then how they are going to cope with more patients?
“There is no mention of these issues at all in the plans – but if they do address it where would they put a new school or a doctor’s surgery?
“There are also huge problems with the plans for the link road. As well as destroying the valley, it will just push the traffic and congestion somewhere else.”
The Oldham and Saddleworth Green Party commented: “We are totally opposed to the proposed developments that will devastate Ashgrove and Thornley Brook.
“We support the Save our Valleys Campaign and will object to forthcoming planning application.”
The application is expected to be submitted soon, including one part for the link road between Lees New Road with Ashbrook Road with access points, and a second for outline planning for the homes, open space and landscaping.
52 per cent of the site, some council-owned and some private, is safeguarded for residential development under policy H1.2 of the Oldham Unitary Development Plan, while the other 48 per cent is OPOL (other protected open land).
Find out more about ‘Save Our Valleys’ on Facebook or visit their Just Giving Page.