Boothroyden Road Housing

Middleton housing returns to Rochdale planning committee

Charlie Schouten

A 71-home development in Middleton is back on the agenda at Rochdale’s planning committee next week, two years after it was first approved, following a cut of more than £1m to its Section 106 agreement contributions.

The private landowners plan to demolish the existing buildings on the brownfield site on Boothroyden Road, which formerly housed Scotts Pallets, and build a mixture of two, three, and four bed detached and mews housing, alongside two three-storey apartment blocks on the site’s south-eastern side.

The site, which also formerly housed a dye works, has been vacant for around 12 years.

The application for the site was first approved, subject to conditions, on 9 November 2015. Conditions for the project getting underway included the provision of an affordable housing scheme either on or off the site, and a financial contribution towards primary and secondary school places in the area.

Overall, these contributions were due to cost £1.3m.

These obligations were never met, and the landowner has argued that the development “would not be financially viable” if the council’s stipulated contributions were provided.

A viability study undertaken by the developer and seen by the council showed that there would be additional project costs from demolition, site remediation and ground conditions, following surveys and information provided by demolition and remediation contractors.

Ground investigations also revealed major drainage issues on the site which will need to be addressed to allow redevelopment of the disused brownfield site to go ahead.

The application is now back on the planning committee’s agenda with a recommendation to approve, subject to a significantly reduced level of contribution, including no provision for affordable homes or education.

The developer will now only be required to pay a contribution of £81,076 towards outdoor recreation, following over a year of negotiations, during which it was argued that residential was the only viable use for the former industrial site.

Planning officers said: “The viability report provided by the applicant concludes that the development is unable to deliver any planning contributions whilst still providing a reasonable developer return.

“The benefits of the scheme in terms of the provision of housing on a brownfield site outweigh the harm caused by the provision of reduced contributions.”

The application will be discussed by the council’s planning committee on 14 November.

The professional team for the project includes Picea Design as architect and Adams Planning & Development as planner.

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