Salford City Council has welcomed a decision by the Secretary of State to dismiss appeals by Peel for two developments at Broadoak, Worsley.
The first appeal covered up to 600 dwellings and marina facilities at Broadoak, with the second application covering 165 homes in the same area. Described by the council as a “vital green lung,” that would be fragmented by development, the greenfield site is a mixture of woods and open meadows and stretches from Monton Green to Worsley Road.
Cllr Derek Antrobus, lead member for planning and sustainable development at Salford, said: “This is the second time the Secretary of State has supported the council’s policy to protect our valuable green space. The Greenway policy has been in force for years and is designed to keep a vital green lung between Monton and Worsley.
“Local residents from both areas have supported our stand on this and did a fantastic job in putting the case to Government.” Local people formed a group called Residents Against Inappropriate Development to argue against the proposals.
Antrobus continued: “This land is not the right place for development and thanks to our long-standing policies we have protected it for generations to come. Our draft Local Plan policies will aim to further strengthen protection of this land.
“Salford is committed to maximising development on brownfield land and there are plenty of other sites which fit that bill where Peel can build much needed family homes. I would encourage them to concentrate on those areas. I sincerely hope they will not waste taxpayers’ money by challenging this decision and making the council fight them again in court.”
Peel Investments (North), which has been advised by Shoosmiths, has six weeks in which to decide whether to challenge the decision in the High Court, prolonging what has already been a drawn-out struggle.
A Peel spokesman said: ‘We are very disappointed with the Secretary of State’s decision.
“The report appears to accept that applications like this are currently the only way to address the shortage of new family homes and affordable housing in Salford, but then stops short by allowing open land in Worsley to prevail over local housing needs. We need to digest the decision before deciding on our future approach.”
One of the avenues explored by Peel was that while Salford can demonstrate a five-year supply, titled balance should be applied as the supply identified would not deliver a wide choice of high quality homes. The supply is dominated by apartments in two wards, Ordsall and Irwell Riverside, Peel said, but while the Secretary of State agreed hat the council is not presently meeting the needs of the housing market as a whole, that was not enough to sway the verdict.
Peel’s initial 600-home application was refused in November 2013, at a time when Salford’s draft local plan recommended designating the Worsley Greenway as green belt land. This first application includes three different parcels of land and Aviary Field, a 5.4-acre site that Peel mapped out for playing fields and an ecological area.
The decision was appealed, but after a six-week public enquiry in 2014 the decision was upheld by the Secretary of State in March 2015.
Peel subsequently submitted a High Court challenge, but before it could be heard a separate panel ruled that an element of the Inspector’s report was at fault, and the March 2015 decision was quashed, leading to the second inquiry.
In the meantime, Peel applied for planning permission to build 165 homes on a smaller part of Broadoak, which was refused in July 2017.
In the summary, the Secretary of State noted that Salford’s Development Plan should still hold sway, with the need to release greenfield and/or Green Belt land attracting little weight in the context of these proposals. He agreed with the Inspector that Salford can comfortable demonstrate a five-year housing supply.
Even in the absence of policy regarding the need and distribution of housing in a wider sense, the Secretary said of Broadoak, “there remains a plan in place, and a policy for the land in question which is sufficient to establish that the developments are unacceptable in principle”.