Stonebreaks development plans rejected – Saddleworth Independent
A PLAN to build over 150 houses in a picturesque area of Saddleworth has been turned down.
Developers wanted to place 158 homes on the land off Cooper Street in Springhead, which was once occupied by Springhead and Stone Breaks Quarries.
But a meeting of Oldham council’s planning committee this evening (Wednesday November 9) unanimously rejected the application of Stonebreaks Ltd, which Companies House says is associated with Richard Perrins and Mark Wood.
According to the proposal, 18 one-bedroom, 28 two-bedroom, 65 three-bedroom, 35 four-bedroom and 12 five-bedroom houses would be built.
However, objections – both from the public and from various bodies – made clear what impact this would have.
A report said: “It is considered that the negative impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, and therefore the principle of residential development is not considered to be acceptable in this case.”
The loss of other protected open land (OPOL) was a major reason for the denial, with up to 40% of those in Stonebreaks being eradicated if development was given the green light.
Even though those requesting permission said they chose areas of “low quality,” a report on the matter said, “Development would erode 40% of OPOL 13 and result in full development of the OPOL designation.
“The proposed layout will result in substantial losses of net habitat gain and biodiversity that cannot be adequately mitigated by on-site mitigation measures.
“The development is that some parts will cause moderate to major negative effects in terms of terrain and visuals.”
The fact that parts of the site are also designated as part of a green corridor, in particular between Cooper Street and Stonebreaks Road, was also highlighted, with the following conclusion: “Demand is encroaching on the green corridor, and spatial planning concluded that, by the very nature of the encroachment, it does not protect the greenway.
Objector Kevin Lawton, who lives on one of the access roads, told the meeting: ‘Given that three quarters of the site is OPOL there is no way to build more than 100 suitable houses , small-scale or auxiliaries.
“There are no significant local employment opportunities, so it would be a suburban area.”
Saddleworth West and Lees councilor Mark Kenyon added: ‘Breakstone, despite the claimant’s opinion, is actually a significant part of the green space. It is a place where families can walk and where children can play.
“It is also a haven of biodiversity. The surrounding roads are already full of existing traffic.
Lizzie Schofield, on behalf of Stonebreaks Group, which she described as ‘landowners, not a developer’, said the development would address a ‘significant and undeniable housing deficit in Saddleworth West and Lees’.
She also claimed it would improve access to and from nearby schools, increase open space – private land that would have more areas accessible to the public – and bring in a minimum of £600,000 a year in council tax.
Councilman Sam Al-Hamdani actually praised the candidate, saying, “I wish more developers would take the attitude you have.”
However, members of the public have argued that the development should not go ahead as the impact of more than 1,000 additional people on the area would be catastrophic.
“Stonebreaks is a beautiful part of our world and is also a conservation area with stunning views, listed buildings and is very special to all of us and we feel it should be pushed as part of the local green space plan in the Saddleworth area,” said one.
Other points among 149 comments included: ‘We believe the impact on the landscape will be much more severe and will have a massive impact on both the character and the view of adjacent neighbors – ourselves included.
“There will be an impact on transport as the roads and junctions will not be able to cope with all the extra traffic knowing that the Hartshead site has planning permission but development has not yet started.
“Schools, doctors and dentists won’t be able to cope either, because including the Hartshead site there could be over 1,000 extra people.”
Documents supporting the claim stated: “Currently the Stonebreaks claim site has an area of land within the OPOL designation – equivalent to 73% of the site.
“Through careful design and respect for both the designation and the lands outside the designation, the proposal aims to maintain and significantly improve 41% of the OPOL on the site.”
But this was rejected by the committee as it voted to deny permission.