Good to talk Foxdenton
Reporter: KAREN DOHERTY
Date online: 10 October 2013
AROUND 150 concerned residents attended a public meeting about £100 million proposals for a business park and hundreds of new homes at Foxdenton in Chadderton last night.
The meeting was called by local councillors and former Environment Secretary Michael Meacher MP following concerns about communication.
Oldham Chronicle managing editor David Whaley chaired the meeting, which brought together Mr Meacher, Council leader Councillor Jim McMahon, Councillor Dave Hibbert - cabinet member for environment and housing, and other council experts. The developer wasn’t invited, on legal advice.
It was standing-room only at Kingfisher School, Foxdenton Lane, as the council panel was grilled about issues surrounding the proposed development, from the impact on schools and roads to the quality of the jobs created.
The school is close to the 49 hectares of green land which could be transformed by up to 500 homes, a business park, a new link road and more than 20 acres of public open space.
More than 60 questions were submitted by the public, and the audience was told many of them were questions the council was already asking the developer.
But they were also told some questions couldn’t be answered; specific highways issues, the amount of social housing and compensation for loss of open space would be decided as part of the planning process.
There were shouts of “rubbish” when Mr McMahon said the majority had genuine concerns and objections but some might be using the issue as a “political football.”
“At this stage, I wouldn’t ask for anything other than that people reserve judgment, listen to the argument, understand a bit more detail about the process we are about to embark on,” he said
The council leader vowed to continue to meet residents.
He said: “I hope this is the start of a long conversation.
“What is important for me is that you do not leave here thinking it is the council versus Chadderton or the council versus the people of Foxdenton. We are here to represent the views of the majority.”
Mr Meacher said the meeting had been helpful,: “Some of the questions have been answered. Clearly a lot of them haven’t.
“There are going to be developments over a long period and the Foxdenton Protection Group wants to be kept in the loop.
“But we clearly need a further meeting.”
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