THE naming of a new homes site in Greenfield left councillors with a collective bee in their bonnets.
Work to build 10 properties on land once occupied by the former Spring Grove Works off Chew Valley Road is soon expected to start.The developers, whose current project at the one-time Greenfield Conservative Club is nearing completion, have been keen to retain a link with the village’s past.
A historic boundary stone, removed prior to demolition of the factory buildings, will be returned and incorporated into the development of two and three bedroomed properties.
So, rather than choosing his own name, developer David Whitmore asked Saddleworth Historical Society for its input.
Their shortlist was whittled down to Beehive Close which has been put forward to Oldham Council’s Unity Partnership.
A report sent to OMBC ward and Saddleworth Parish councillors stated: “The Beehive is a symbol of the Co-Operative Society and Greenfield had its own Co-Operative Society with numerous branches in the village, which was started soon after the Rochdale Pioneers.”
However, the consultation stirred up a hornets’ nest of objections.
One councillor said: “As a Greenfield lad, I’m appalled at the suggestion of Beehive Close.
“Even if the Bee were an emblem of the Co-op Society, it’s representative of the movement as a whole and therefore is more relevant to Rochdale, the home of the ‘Pioneers.’
Another member said: “Beehive is not a good choice of name. Surely beehive and bees has too much connotation with Manchester’s emblem the bee.”
And a third added: “What a crackpot reason for a name with no association with Greenfield or its environs.
“Nowhere in the history of the Cooperative movement is there a mention of a Beehive. Refer to Village Cooperation Greenfield 1896 -1906.
“The only emblem mentioned in there is that of the whole co-operative movement which is a Wheatsheaf.”
Unsuspecting David has been left bemused by the sting in the tail to the Historical Society’s name suggestion.
“It’s ironic because we didn’t want to upset anyone,” he told the Independent.
“We didn’t want to pick the name of the street ourselves but we wanted something in keeping with the village.
“We came up with boundary stone for obvious reasons and with the stone to be replaced into the wall.
“So, we thought we would let Saddleworth pick it and sent an email to the Historical Society for suggestions.
“In the end, I had to pick something because a name has to go into council so we can continue with the build.
“But if it can be changed then I have no problem with changing it.”
A number of alternative names were put forward and he Independent can now confirm the new development will be known as Alderman Close after local landmark Alderman’s Hill, often known by its popular other title, Pots and Pans.