250-strong protest against Foxdenton plans
Reporter: KAREN DOHERTY
Date online: 08 January 2013
A MASSIVE protest group last night packed a meeting against proposals for a business park and homes on a large swathe of green land in Chadderton.
The 250-plus opponents queued down the street to get into Nimble Nook Sports and Social Club to speak out on the future of the 110-acre site.
Mike Luft, chairman of Thatch Leach Residents’ Association, said: “In the 40-odd years I have lived in Thatch Leach I have never seen the community come together and express its concerns as it has tonight.
“There is no doubt the council will have to listen to us. They will have to respond in a positive way. No amount of bullying will divert us from our concerns.”
The land, roughly bounded by Foxdenton Lane, Broadway, Radclyffe Athletics Centre and Firwood Park and containing three farms, is next to Kingfisher and Radclyffe schools and the Newman College.
Oldham Council is working with a private developer to create the building plan for a 74-acre business park and up to 380 homes. Foxdenton Limited Liability Partnership, a joint venture between Grasscroft Property and Seddon Group, has options on a substantial proportion of the land. The council also owns some of it.
Residents are concerned about the loss of the open space and local wildlife, worsening existing drainage problems, flooding, increased traffic, road safety and the future of a riding school.
They also object to the site’s proximity to the historical Foxdenton Park and Hall.
Christina Gater, part of the small group of residents which organised the meeting, fears a planning application will be submitted next month.
“I knew there would be a lot of people tonight, but I thought maybe 100. It just shows how many people are upset by what’s going on. They are absolutely devastated.”
Roger Pakeman, secretary of Oldham and Saddleworth Green Party, said: “This will wipe out a large area of what is not quite green belt land, but a valuable amenity. The Green Party is not against industrial development, but is there a need for additional industrial development in Oldham?”
The group plans to set up a website and a committee, and is appealing for anyone with expertise in areas such as law and planning to help. The next meeting is planned for a month’s time at the same venue.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet member for housing, transport and planning, said the council doesn’t have any plans for the land: “We may have to come to terms with the fact that something will happen “I have made a commitment as the Cabinet member that whatever goes on there in the future - and it could be years and years off - I will work with local councillors and local residents to make sure everybody has an input.”
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