Russell Homes South Heywood Street Scene

Rochdale earmarks 1,000 homes on Green Belt for consent

Tim Clark

Rochdale Council’s planning committee is set to approve plans by Russell Homes for a major scheme on 320-acres of land near South Heywood.

The mixed-use proposal, which forms a key part of the Northern Gateway plan, includes 1,000 homes, 1.5 million sq ft of commercial and industrial space and a new £20m road link.

Council planners have backed the scheme stating that it “brings forward three main benefits of substantial scale”, which outweigh the “significant” harm to the green belt.

The report ahead of the planning committee on 22 March states: “It has been identified that the proposal would be inappropriate development in the green belt as defined by the [National Planning Policy] Framework. The Framework establishes that substantial weight should be given to any harm in the Green Belt. In addition significant weight has been apportioned to the total Green Belt harm, through its combined impact on openness and the five purposes of including land within it.”

“Nonetheless, the proposal would bring forward three main benefits of substantial scale that would weigh heavily in favour of the proposal.

“Significant weight has been attributed to the substantial economic benefits that would be delivered to support sustainable economic growth.

“These include substantial employment generation in an area that suffers from high levels of unemployment and deprivation, and significant levels of additional spend in the local area from future occupiers and employees of the development. ”

Russell is seeking outline permission for a road link connecting Pilworth Road to junction 19 of the M62 and, along with the homes, a primary school, open space and sports pitches will be provided.

The proposed link road includes the construction of a new 2.2km single carriageway route between Pilsworth Road and the existing roundabout at the motorway junction. The majority of the route would follow the existing alignment of Hareshill Road, between Manchester Road and Pilsworth Road.

The new link road would be part-funded by grants from TfGM and Highways England, with the shortfall met by Russell Homes through the release of the proposed housing.

According to planners 97% of the site lies within Manchester’s protected Green Belt, however the scheme also falls within the Northern Gateway Strategic Location for development and is identified as strategic location in the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, currently being rewritten.

The scheme has received 280 letters of objection and six letters of support

Conditions of planning include the provision of £1.2m for bus services and stops, the setup of a management company to oversee the public open spaces, the provision of space for sports pitches, or a payment of £200,000 towards Heywood Sports Village will be paid.

On top of land for the new school the developer will contribute up to £4.6m under the terms of an education contribution for the council.

The plans are due to be considered by Rochdale’s planning and licencing committee on March 22.

If approved by Rochdale Council the scheme will be referred to communities secretary Savid Javid.

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