Residents' fury after controversial plans for £7m housing development in Moorside are submitted - again

Date published: 08 June 2021

A residents group in Moorside are almost at the end of their tether after detailed plans for a controversial £7 million housing development were again submitted to Oldham Council.

After the planning application for 23 three and four-bedroom detached homes near Haven Lane were submitted for the first time in 2016, proposals for the land were rejected by the planning committee.

However, that decision was later overturned by the planning inspectorate.

That hit the council in the pocket to the tune of £35,000 after the inspector said costs should be awarded for ‘unreasonable behaviour’ by the authority.

Full planning permission was eventually granted for the scheme at a later meeting in June, 2019.

The development is being led by Cube Homes, the private sector arm of the Great Places Housing Group, who are a housing association in the north west.

They submitted a new reserved matters application last month, which seeks final approval for the design of the new estate to allow work to commence.

A decision on the plans will be made after June 11, according to the planning portal.

The developer describes them as ‘stylish’ homes which take advantage of the location to offer ‘stunning views’ over the town and countryside.

Cube Homes says the plan includes landscaping and improving the surface water situation from the surrounding land and better managing the surface water on the site to improve and complement the neighbouring area.

However, furious local resident Wendy Cash said: “We have responded to the Council letter detailing our objections on the council website, but in doing so I noticed that only 22 notifications had been sent out by the Council, presumably to the houses on the perimeter of the field.

“There are approximately 90 houses in the immediate area of this dangerous access who will have to deal with the extra traffic and noise pollution, and yet they have not received any notification.

The view looking out from the rear of Neil Buckley's property on Havenside Close

“This seems to be a policy that the planning department have adopted over many years.

“The general feeling of the residents is that we have been overlooked and ignored to the benefit of the developers.

“This is a very sensitive issue which we residents, under the banner of Moorside East Residents Association, have been fighting since 2014.

“One of the main problems is the safety of the access to the site.

“Originally the Inspectorate said it had to be made safe and the Highways engineer proposed traffic calming for the whole of Haven Lane.

“To the south of Haven Lane speed bumps have been installed after a public consultation with those residents affected (Waterhead ward).

“This part of Haven Lane (north) lies in St James’s ward  and to date the residents of Haven Lane and the surrounding cul de sacs have not been formally notified by the council of traffic calming, nor have we been offered a public consultation, which is our lawful right.

“This, together the close proximity of these properties to existing houses resulting in loss of privacy and light are major concerns.

“This development was pushed through by the planning officer at the time just before he was suspended and later resigned.

“Oldham Council has not put anything in place to improve the infrastructure of this area to accommodate this new build.”

The proposed Haven Lane development has been dogged by controversy.

Ex-chairman of the planning committee Steve Bashforth attended the original planning inspectorate meeting before falling sick, while Planning Committee head, Steve Irvine, later resigned from his position in the summer of 2019 after earlier being suspended over allegations of 'gross misconduct'.

New St James’ Conservative councillor Beth Sharp (pictured above) has now been to meet representatives from the Moorside East Residents Association.

She told the Chronicle: “I’ve had several residents contact me about their concerns with this development on Haven Lane.

"I do not believe in building on the green belt, when we have plenty of brownfield sites across the borough ready for building.

"However, this has been granted permission by the Labour-led council and it now seems residents are not being treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.

"I am working with residents to try and get a planning officer to the site to discuss in more detail the next steps going forward.”

Local resident Neil Buckley, whose Havenside Close home also runs alongside the planned site, said: "Haven Lane is already a single lane throughfare with all the cars parked on either side.

"Adding another junction onto this busy country lane is dangerous.

"Surely build on brownfield sites around Oldham before looking at greenfield sites? 

"St James’s Ward has enough new houses with all the ones being built on the old Counthill School site."

Another local resident told the Chronicle: "We're absolutely sick of fighting this now.

"I live more or less right facing the entrance to the proposed site.

"The extra traffic and noise will make life a misery."

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