Councillorís blast at gated luxury homes
Reporter: KEN BENNETT
Date online: 13 January 2014
Wealthy residents living in “private prison” gated communities are having an impact on community cohesion, says a councillor
Developments across Saddleworth - including Higher Lydgate Park, Grasscroft Heights and Long House Hamlet in Dobcross - lock wealthy households behind iron gates.
And the trend is spreading towards Oldham, with new plans to turn the derelict Hill Top Special School in Strinesdale into a gated development of luxury homes.
Villagers in Saddleworth have expressed concerns about the spread of exclusive new, high-end developments with some homes costing up to £1million each.
Oldham borough councillor and Saddleworth parish councillor Alan Roughley said: “These residents should throw open their iron gates and join the world. Better still, take them off their hinges and weigh them in as scrap.”
Councillor Roughley, who lives in Denshaw, declared: “ We seem to be living in a fearful society, frightened of our own shadows. National crime rates have been going down for a long time; local figures are very low. No new Saddleworth house is built without a sophisticated electronic alarm system being installed.
“Gated communities in various parts of the district presumably hold people frightened that hoards of criminals are lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce as soon as they go out, or poised to attack householders in their beds at night. I feel sorry for those who choose to live in this way — they have created a private prison and locked themselves in.
“The ‘prisoners’ are little known - they don’t seem to use the local pubs, churches, shops or post offices.”
Mike Rooke, secretary of the Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents Association, said: “It seems an increasing number of rich people wish to cut themselves off from the rest of us, protecting and fortifying their premises.
Oldham Council and Parish councillor Garth Harkness, who lives in Dobcross, said gated communities create isolation: “The segregation only creates tension and doesn’t represent the community spirit of Saddleworth.”
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