Lees Village Russells Homes Oldham

Russells returns with 265-home Oldham scheme

Charlie Schouten

After being refused by the council in December last year, proposals by Russells Homes to build a link road and 265 homes off Knowls Lane in Oldham will be reconsidered next week.

Russells is proposing to build a mix of houses on the undeveloped plot, which has been allocated for housing under Oldham’s Local Plan since 2006, albeit for 232 homes.

The 39-acre site in the Lees area of Oldham is primarily greenfield land and stretches from Knowls Lane to the south to mature woodland and Thornley Brook to the north.

Plans were put forward in 2017, but Oldham’s planning committee decided to rule against the scheme in December last year. The committee argued the scheme would not “improve the economic, social, and environmental conditions of the area”, and added that Russells was “unwilling to amend the proposal to make the development acceptable”.

The main bone of contention over the initial proposals was the loss of designated open land to the east of the site; councillors argued the harm caused by the loss of open space would “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the acknowledged benefits of the scheme”.

Russells, working with masterplanner IBI, has put forward a refreshed proposal for the site in a hybrid application; this includes a full application for the link road, and outline permission for housing.

The link road is set to run between Knowls Lane to Ashbrook Road, running from north to south to the west of the site; this will cross Thornley Brook via a raised covert.

For the housing, Russells is proposing up to 265 homes; the mix of size, type, and tenure will be determined via a reserved matters application but at present the developer is proposing 60 affordable homes, around 23% of the total.

According to planner Barton Willmore, the development will realise a number of economic benefits. These include a £37.4m investment in the construction phase, along with 150 construction jobs over seven years; more than £416,000 per year in council tax revenues; and a £1.3m new homes bonus.

The planner added the new link road, worth approximately £3.5m, would address “a known bottleneck within the local highway network” and would provide “enhanced connectivity between the north and south side of Thornley Brook valley”.

Ahead of a planning committee next week, Oldham Council’s planning officers have recommended the scheme for approval. Although officers acknowledge the impact on open space, planners argued the need for additional housing supply in the area would be the primary consideration in approving the plans.

“The requirement to significantly boost the supply of housing in the district, coupled with the fact that there have been very few major planning applications for housing submitted to and approved by the council in the past 10 years in the Saddleworth West and Lees ward, attracts substantial weight in favour of granting planning permission for the proposals”, said the officers’ report.

The scheme is recommended for the go-ahead subject to a Section 106 agreement; this includes 60 affordable homes on the site; off-site highways works worth £115,000; management of open space; and a transfer of a parcel of land to St Agnes Primary School.

Alongside Barton Willmore and IBI, the professional team on the project includes Turley; REC; e3p; Sutcliffe; Axis; and Orion Heritage.

Your Comments

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“more than £416,000 per year in council tax revenues” is an interesting one. Those revenues are designed to pay for the council provided services used by the residents of the new properties – so it isn’t really a benefit as, at least theorectically, the need for the expenditure on those services only arises as a result of the development taking place.

By the by

With all the many brown field sites in the Oldham Borough why, oh why, do they want to build on greenfield sites. It’s a disgrace.

By A Cynical

Russell Homes have failed to consult with local people since 2017 and I believe that the school haven’t been involved in plans either. Officers of the council have made the process difficult , not following the planning processes correctly and changing dates of meetings. How can the full application be for a road and then the housing get passed under deferred matters? The environmental impact is massive, the traffic disruption is massive…and nobody wants the road!

By Cath

Potentially 500 more cars plus 1,000 more people on GP surgery lists …… how can this be good for the area? The jobs it will create will be temporary and unlikely to be providing work for local people.

By Len

Very much in favour of this proposal, fantastic proposal. Much needed housing and wil regenerate the surrounding areas

By Bob

This development is totally wrong. The open land is being sort for profit only. Other Protected Open Land should stay as it says, ‘PROTECTED’!! The link road especially will destroy a beautiful open valley area. NO amount of landscaping can replace this area!! The new application has changed nothing. Shame on OMBC if this development is allowed to go ahead

By Sue Hodgkiss

We believe this road has been on plans for 30+ years. I am sorry but if someone (council) haven’t done anything about it by now then this bottle neck they mention clearly isn’t that big an issue. Furthermore moving a bottle neck at the same time as creating a potentially dangerous staggered junction and adding many more cars to the area is not a solution, just moving the problem. Do we not now fully understand the negative impact cars have on the environment and our health and well being and yet they think a new road through the heart of this, one of our few green spaces is a benefit. I see no benefits for this community at all just more money for OMBC to spend somewhere else, yet again.

The new road will destroy a wonderfully varied natural environment; increase pollution; create congestion at the junction with a narrow country lane; put children and parents at risk as they walk to school and increase traffic in the area. The developers are not willing to build just on the allocated area for housing but want to land grab protected open land. Their claim that the council has made a mistake in classifying an area of green fields as ‘Other Protected Open Land’ is arrogant in the extreme. They currently have an appeal lodged with the Government Planning Office and are trying to by-pass this by resubmitting the same planning application.
The reason there have been very few major planning applications for housing submitted to and approved by the council in the past 10 years in the Saddleworth West and Lees ward, is that the area was overdeveloped in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties. This the main accessible open space left and should not be built on.

By Christine

The reason that there has been less development in this ward over the last 5-10 years is due to the extensive and over development in the area previous to that, in fact since the 1960s. This is one of the few open green spaces the community has. If Oldham Council allow this inappropriate and harmful development it will be a travesty.

By Max

This is an absolute disgrace and one that I hope OMBC are going to defend, and stick to the decision THE RIGHT DECISION they made in November 18. Saddleworth West and Lees has taken more than its fair share of development over the years and has now resulted in an area that is full and can’t take any more. Russell Homes are not a company who go in for community engagement either, none since a very shoddy and unprofessional exhibition in June 2017. Come on Oldham, stand by us now!

By Mel

Shame on you. This will destroy the local wildlife habitat and cause a “rat run”. Residents not listened to yet again!!

By Anon

Saddleworth West, Lees Grotton and Springhead have had multiple housing developments spanning decades.. Grotton Lido, Coverhill Rd, County End, Rome Mill, Owl Mill, Acorn Mill, etc etc this has resulted in OMBC receiving circa £10M per annum in rates from this area right now, which is circa £100M in the last ten years.

Springhead and Grotton have no medical centre, both Public Toilets in Grotton and Lees have been demolished, pavements are in a chronic state of disrepair, Grotton Pavillion needs to be re built – no money from OMBC, Springhead FC has had no development funds for a new club house, Austerlands Cricket Club has had no funding from OMBC for a much needed new club club house, to state the community will benefit is simply not true and a ruse to once again rape our community of open countryside and ruination of ever decreasing wildlife preserve.

No Youth Clubs, a landfill exercise (a polite word for a tip), no extra policing, over subscribed local schools, longer waiting list for GP’s, no extra policing, no fire station or police station or any additional infrastructure whatsoever- just more traffic and more burden on already over stretched services.

Farcical to state this scheme as an benefit and hypocritical of all national parties lip service to protecting wildlife and countryside.

The scheme is an absolute disgrace and a scandalous disregard of local communities feedback.

It’s purpose will fulfil two issues only…

Greed and Profit.

What a charade being perpetrated here, the truth being zero benefits to the people who live in the community, what a bunch of lies being told.

Sincerely

Paul Boots Errock

By Paul Errock

Quite unbelievable proposal quite frankly it couldn’t be worse,. Firstly a road that is supposed to be everybody’s dream yet in 30 years nothing has been done. Nobody wants it, Oldham councillors don’t want it they voted against it. It doesn’t take the line intended and is poorly designed in the extreme.
Secondly OPOL land so deemed because it warrants protection. This is the duty of Oldham Planning to uphold the Local Development Framework.

There is a mass of local objection from local people but the Planners are as disconnected from local people as Russell Homes who are pure profiteers. Affordable homes. Who are they trying to kid.

By Michael Taylor

I’ve never read such a load of old tosh in a long time. There will not be one scrap of benefit to the community from this scheme. How they have the cheek to suggest the new link road would address a known bottleneck is beyond belief. It all stems from greed and underhanded decisions which will not have a beneficial effect on the local community but a detrimental one. Constantly building multiple new homes without improving the infrastructure of the area will prove devastating. We already wait weeks for a doctors appointment and our schools are full. Goodness knows what will happen with an extra 260 families plus vehicles trying to use the overstretched resources. Bad times ahead in afraid.

By Margaret

Thank you Russell Homes for continuing to put forward revised plans and have this development approved. I was born in this area and moved away four years ago. My family and I would love to return and purchase one of their houses on this lovely development. There is an abundance of green area around for community to visit and for people to walk their dogs etc and optimise their health and well being.

By Lindsey Garforth

Wrong Scheme, Wrong Team.

By Royton Roy

Just for anyone who would like to live in this area, or move back. If you have a quick look there is a range of houses from £80K to £1 million on sale right now so come on back while we have some green space left to enjoy!

How long before the White Rose society start whining?

By Elephant

Build on brownfield sites only not our lovely countryside. 60 affordable homes only, yet you will be destroying nature and wildlife, go and build elsewhere but not in Lees!!!!

By Alibaba

Absolute joke if This development get passed , will just prove the greed of Oldham council and show they have no concern for what the people of this area are saying , there are many brown field sites available around the area so why is this one still being considered that is in a green belt area as far as I’m aware . I’ve lived in Springhead the majority of my life I have used that area as both a child and now as an adult and mother with a family who also use that area with me for walking and just enjoying the simple open space that is still there and should stay for many years to come . There will be zero benefit to the area from this development !!

By Caroline Holmes

I totally disagree with this proposal for housing. Where is the extra infrastructure such as school places coming from, the local schools are over subscribed as it is, also the impact on local GP surgery lists as it is impossible now to get an appointment to see a GP now without increasing the numbers attending the surgeries. Not only that but the impact of extra traffic created by these new homes can’t be good for the enviroment, health of the local population.
Hands off our green areas!

By Disgruntled Lees resident

@Caroline Holmes for goodness sake Oldham Council aren’t developing these homes, a private developer is. The decision as to whether to pass a planning application by a local authority is determined by its accordance with planning policy that’s mainly devised by central government. Central government don’t care about the impact of housing development locally, all they’re bothered about is ramping up housing numbers nationally. If the application is compliant and the council doesn’t pass it they can be taken to court and are liable for the developers legal costs. It’s just another example of how big companies and central government have their foot on the throat of local councils and their communities.

If there is greed, it’s usually displayed by the house builders with their 20% profit margins and then land owners who extract much of the value of land as profit rather than t being put to use paying for infrastructure.

The problem with the way we deliver housing in this country is that there isn’t enough of a role for local councils assembling land or building the housing and infrastructure we need. It’s a developer-led system with very little actual planning actually going on.

By House nouse

I’m absolutely disgusted to read that Russell Homes have lodged yet another application to build houses and a link road on such a beautiful Scenic Wooded Valley rich in wildlife and a peaceful haven for all that live in the area. OMBC planning department should hang their heads in shame for approving such a scheme.The residents of Springhead ,Grotton and Lees would loose the only greenbelt they have if this proposed development gets approved .

By Brian

how can this help with the traffic bottleneck?, it will increase it even more!!, each home (265) will in average have 2-3 cars per household, that is an additional 800 plus card in and around the area!! seven years of dust and noise and upheaval for all those and me on Knowls Lane!!!

By Dawn fletcher

Russell home’s claims that the development ‘will sit comfortably in its setting [with] no significant or unacceptable adverse effect on landscape character, appearance or visual amenity of the area’ are quite frankly insulting. The link road will also create a rat run on Leeds New Rd that has already had to install traffic calming measures – not to mention the fact that the staggered junction is on a walking route to school. Add to that the level of brownfield in the Borough and the need for affordable, accessible housing rather than executive homes and it becomes clear this is an pure financial play for builders, with the OMBC planning dept nodding it through to achieve targets without breaking those targets down to target the type of homes that we need.

By Fed up with incompetent form fillers

Russel homes have been refused once and once should be enough.
The people of oldham do not want this to go ahead due to vast reasons but Russel homes have now invested so much into this that they will not let it go. They will tell lies and destroy villages to get what they want. If the people of the area wanted to live in a city then they would have bought a house in a city.
Go and build in your own neighbourhood Russel homes!!!!!

By Mark

This development is not wanted or needed in this area.
This development would destroy the natural habitat of the wildlife in the area. This green valley land grab would put a strain on the existing infrastructure and public services while bringing zero benefit to the area. Approval of this application would be a disaster!

By Paul Why oh Why?

The construction of the new road would require Thornley Brook to be culverted which would devastate existing woodland area. Russell Homes even admit that it would take over 15 years for the woodland to regenerate. All for a road no one wants or needs.

By Just Profit & Greed

I hope the council will take into account Hartshead Road bridge, Lees urban council had a problem there as in the 1950,s it flooded several times, with the lost of green fields the problem may re-occur.

By Barry Hoare

Lindsey Garforth & others, if this development goes ahead there will no longer be an abundance of green area around for community to visit and for people to walk their dogs etc and optimise their health and well being as you have said. This is our point!! These houses and rat run of a road will destroy our green area & wildlife and cause chaos in our villages. There are plenty of houses up for sale suitable for you & your family if you return. Our schools are already oversubscribed and where will all these extra families get medical care with Drs and Dentists full and with waiting lists. This is just the WRONG place for this development. This is PROTECTED land – It’s a disgrace – Go elsewhere – lots of brown space available!!

By Karen Jakeman

OPOL should mean just that PROTECTED.
This scheme is about greed only. The developer is only interested in £ signs.
There has been a total disregard by the developer and OMBC to listen to the local community.
I wonder how much the developer has already invested in trying to get this plan passed. To much to walk away probably……They have legal teams work for them, we are a community voice saying NO. OMBC please listen to the people who know, this development will be a disaster for the local community and you will be held accountable in the future.

By Penelope

I have lived in Lees and Springhead all my life and I am disgusted that further development in an already densely developed area is even being considered by Oldham Council, especially when councillors had the wisdom to refuse it in November. Our area does not need regenerating thank you Russell Homes. For those of you who really think they will bring affordable housing to the area I think, if this goes ahead, you will be disappointed. There is a legal loophole that allows developers to get away with building the affordable housing, they just have to say the scheme (in this case no doubt the road) cost them more than they expected to and that their profits are falling below 20%. There is lots of affordable housing in the area right up to the aspirational Homes the developers and Oldham planning seem to think we need.

By Springhead Joe

Excellent plans , long overdue road to ease congestion and a very good housing development to regenerate an area that well and truly needs it.

By Peter

With the limited green spaces for kids, exercising the dog etc this is a disgrace. We have dozens of brownfield sites that can be used rather than taking away our precious green belt.

This development will not e nuance our community but bring extra burden on already limited school places, doctors and other healthcare needs. Our vale will be destroyed by a budget road by burying our walkways so money can be saved by not building a proper bridge.

Increased traffic in the area will not be relieved but by a link road but just bring more pollution. This abhorrent development on green belt land which is used by the local community (we can all conduct surveys at ridiculous times to show it’s not used) we use this vales and its beauty daily. Russell Homes have ridden roughshod over the local people in the name of huge profits.

By Ged Gibbons

How can lees sustain new homes potentially over 1000 people on doctor waiting list ect traffic a nightmare now schools already under pressure how much more open land do we lose. Plans should be rejected.

By Amanda

As a resident, I find it particularly offensive that you seem to think that you are going to improve the area by decimating the natural landscape that has become known and loved by the local community, it’s as though you think that the area is a dump as it is, you need to be aware and consider the feelings of the local community which is that we do not want the development or the pointless so called much needed link road

By Adrian Pedley

This is the normal tactic of a large scheme that has been knocked back to resubmit so that it look vaguely normal by paring it down. However 265 homes built is a potential of around an extra 1,000 people new to the area with their cars, health needs and so on. Reality check 2 local doctors surgeries with huge waiting lists, no chance of getting dental treatment unless you are private, primary schools at capacity. So what is the proposal for the infrastructure? The area around Lees and Springhead has had more of its fair share of new housing stock. The old Rome Mill area, Athens Mill is a co op store with housing all around, Owl Mill houses tucked in, back of St Johns Street, houses shoved in. This proposed area already lost green space with the introduction of houses at Shade Avenue and around.. Again reality check a lot of new housing in this area over the last 10 to 15 years has gone in. Saddleworth Parish Council….yes you bunch of nerd do wells who take a cut of my Council tax…..do you think it’s time to stand up and be counted, put your feet down and say NO? Or is your intention just to preserve the ‘villages’ around Uppermill? Lots of space in Delph…..get you trowels out!

By Bernadette Kilroy

This development will be a blight and quite rightly has been voted against by oldham council. The land targeted is designated opol land and should not be built upon destroying the valley and wildlife. Typical Russell homes propaganda with no mention of how the want to landfill the valley for a road that no one wants. Develop a brownfield site and not a protected other protected open land

By Act now

Absolutely horrified by the prospect of the development. As a family, we regularly walk over this beautiful OPOL land. If we build on this green space, accessible to all, it’ll be gone for ever- it’s our living lung. Leave it alone.

By Sarah Bradburn

Such a shame that the hard worling residents and council tax payers of Lees and Grotton, having saved to buy a house in a nice area, are having the area ruined by overdevelopment. The local Labour Party’s claim to want to build a “green” Oldham is not as accurate as the reality of Labour Oldham wanting to build on all the green bits of Oldham. When will local Labour Council realise that they just aren’t upto the job, and that they should stop co-operating with those whose aggresive attitude to the planning process is contrary to the public good. They even sacked their own chair of the planning committee because he had the sense to oppose GMSF.

By Mick Scholes

Local authority housing is what is needed not private speculative building. As we our now urged to consider a “climate emergency” surely it makes sense to leave open space and develop brown sites.

By ken Welsh

For me this is a great development and the so call community are only interested in looking out for them selfs and their house prices nothing else.do you see the community coming together and cleaning the area up from rubbish that is dumped or dropped, nope just out for them selfs end of.

By You're all out for yourself

There are enough brownfield sites and houses for sale in the area without ruining this OPOL land and greenspace forever

By anon

‘Undeveloped plot’??? It’s beautiful green fields and a gorgeous open space. I live backing onto this ‘undeveloped plot’ and have done for 20 years. I have never desired for the amazing view (the reason I bought my house in the first place) to be turned into any form of housing!!! A bad idea by people who this will not affect. My house value will decrease, who will reimburse me my losses?? Not the building company or the council that’s for sure. As for amenities, those we have are already under great pressure. I cannot get into a doctors in Lees as they are already over subscribed, schools will not cope with an increase in children in the area. To put the River Medlock in a culvert would be detrimental to local wildlife to say the least. A reduction of wooded land and fields would also destroy local wildlife. The council struggle to meet the demands of the local people already. The local roads cannot already meet the traffic amounts and Knowls Lane is already a death trap at certain times of the day. Russell Homes have failed to listen to the people that matter and been underhanded in their methods. I pray to God this gets refused. Come on Oldham Council, do the right this and stick to your initial refusal!!!

By Jane Henthorn

A complete travesty…..I fully endorse Paul Errocks’ comments.

By Incredulous

This development and link road is not wanted and I fail to see how it’s going to bring any benefit to the area.

265 homes will add hundreds more people, all trying to access the same overstretched resources, schools, doctors, dentists etc together with a further 600-800 cars on our already busy roads. Oh and destroy the only green space we have left, not to mention the detrimental impact it would have on the wildlife! How is that an improvement?

The reason there has been few applications for housing in Saddleworth West and Lees is because WE ARE FULL!

By Anna Oldfield

There is an abundance of wildlife on this site, on the land in the air and in the water. We are privileged to have owls, bats, badgers, foxes, deer and trout all with homes on this site.
To divert or culvert the waterways will spell disaster not just for the wildlife but for the home owners because that land will certainly flood.
Mature trees already established on this land are an essential need to offset the effects of global warming, replanting immature trees will not have the same advantage.
Oldham is a disgrace with an abundance of derelict and abandoned buildings RH should look at those sites before destroying such a well loved, peaceful, beautiful and useful place.
THIS PLAN IS NOTHING SHORT OF VANDALISM.

By Hill Side

RH have not even held a public consultation for this !!! Disgraceful.

By anon

I live next to the area proposed for development. I am devastated that this plan has come back again. The new link road will not ease congestion through Lees – traffic travelling from the direction of the link road is limited. The council should have research traffic & congestion patterns & they would see that this proposed area for the road misses the point, so won’t help congestion much. The development will only put more cars on the roads and damage the landscape and environment further. Trees help to soak up pollution and the proposed site has a well established forest which will be cut down. Schools & GPS in this area are all oversubscribed. Don’t destroy what we have. Beautiful green & open spaces help everyones mental health and wellbeing.

By Suzanne

Absolutely disgusting proposal. There are half demolished areas such as Alt estate very close to country side where the infrastructure is already in place, spend the money there to re generate and bring up places like that, NOT hack away at our existing wildlife areas and cause even more congestion, pollution and destruction of our natural beauty spot.

By Mark Buckley

Our Social infrastructure is already stretched beyond breaking point (Doctors, Dentists, school placeces etc etc). Where is the plan for extending these services. No there so, everyone already living here will suffer more in the name of Profits. When is the government going to make local authorities and building companies address this situation in proposed plans.

By Mark

So many already oversubscribed schools locally; long waits for dr’s appointments etc. It really worries me that there will now be less green space (especially land we thought was safe) and more pollution with a dangerous junction so close to the school. Just what we need!

By Tracey

With so many brown sites around Oldham why take away our greenbelt and build all these homes and a road that none of us want as our main roads are congested now!!! Where are all the children going to be schooled. Doctors in the area are over-stretched now. Please re-consider SAVE OUR VALLEY & SAVE OUR WILDLIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Phil & Linda Tupman

Very good for people who are in need of houseing in a nice place.

By Nb

An extensive blot on the landscape captured perfectly in this image! This proposal will eradicate green, open spaces much used by locals not enhance them. The area is already densely populated with a good mixture of types of housing, including ‘affordable’ housing. There has been little recent building as there is in reality NO space to accommodate it or facilities to service it.

By Mrs. P.

In response to the community are only interested in looking out for themselves (AKA the developers friend), what a very well thought out argument. Surely if a community don’t work together then who will, is that not the point of a community working together for the good of the community, like we see across the whole area in Royton and Shaw etc. What you are saying is that we the community should just do as we are told when a developer comes along, doesn’t engage with us, says this is what’s happening and there will be no benefits to us the community. We just bend over and say thank you. Well that’s not a community that’s just people who don’t care. Regarding the community cleaning the area then why is it the community come together as an organised group and go around the entire area collecting and picking up rubbish, were you away at the time? Also groups that operate in the area who also help keep the place clean, again have you not bothered to join one to help. I suppose not as you clearly either don’t live here or care. By the way it’s ‘themselves’ not ‘them selfs’!

nb…..thanks for agreeing, it is a nice place, but it wont be for much longer if the greedy developers destroy it with their culvert, unwanted link road and 265 houses!!
Bob and Peter, you are one and the same maybe?…RH or BW?…regenerate the surroundings? really? I think you actually believe your own lies.
By you’re out for yourselves. we would love you to come litter picking with us..are you from the area? I think if you were, you would be aware of the groups who meet to actually go litter picking and really do care about the community.
It is our only green space left, leave it alone.

By Geraldine

I fully approve of the planning proposal put forward by Russell Homes. This Company has taken into consideration the appearance of the development, the construction of a new link road that will ease congestion, the conservation of the natural habitat and extensive landscaping. The development will be economically beneficial and regenerate the area. it has my full backing.

By Grotton Resident

Will the builders absolutely guarantee the number of affordable homes they plan to build – in my experience they always wriggle out of it later, citing unprofitability? So, the very homes the areas/councils need never materialise in the required numbers. The builders just complete the more profitable homes. I’d object less strongly if it were a smaller development of affordable homes, rather than mass destruction to build very expensive aspirational properties.

By We need council houses

Typical !! The area is already suffering from the through traffic from Saddleworth where even more houses are being built. To ruin one of the few green areas left that provides a break between estates, and joins to the cottages on Knowles lane with yet more housing is a decision based on greed and not the wishes or desires of the residents. From previous decisions of the planning committee you have to wonder what the criteria is for building. It seems to be just based on financial gain and there seems to be little or no actual planning.
With the current state of affairs it would be prudent for the council to remove the saddleworth attraction signs, because with the current developments the villages are becoming an extension of each other and the attraction is quickly disappearing.

By David

Brilliant idea, much needed houses and regeneration for the area including a new through road to decrease congestion. Those apposed to it mostly live in new build houses themselves. The majority of area is new build estates. NIMBY hypocrisy.

By Russell

What are these comments about regeneration and economic benefit? How? Nothing is being made or manufactured over the longer term just 265 houses being thrown up without any thought for local infrastructure that’s groaning under the many housing schemes that have already been shoe horned into small areas around Lees and Springhead. As for ease of congestion, what happened to the rhetoric around the use of public transport, park and ride schemes, use of the Metro system? Where is the investment in that or the willingness of residents in this and surrounding areas to use alternative methods for travel to work and shopping? A road to connect Oldham Road to Lees New Road will create another ‘rat run’ nothing more. We are rapidly returning to rows and rows of housing with no local green space…….horrendous and for those looking to move into the area check out the local estate agents for a range of suitable properties in many price ranges. You don’t need a brand new housing estate thrown on top of a local green open space to be able to move here!

By Bernadette

I regularly drive this way as part of my commute so have been keeping an eye on this. Can I just say as someone who travels regularly and who has been involved in many studies on new roads, any benefits that this new road will bring will be quickly eroded. Not only by the additional cars the development will bring but by the natural occurrence of induced traffic. Also if true I find it laughable that this road has been as some say an aspiration for over 30 years, I am afraid if it was that important someone would have done something about by now and in modern times we should not aspire to bring more cars to an area that’s clearly already very busy indeed. Let’s aspire to have better and cost affective public transport and remove the reliance on private cars. On that note how many of these houses will have double garages and large drives. Maybe reduce the space for cars and have more affordable homes or will they not generate the same profit?

By Don't live here

Peter – the area well and truly needs regenerating does it? How rude and insulting you are to the residents of Lees, Grotton and Springhead. We have chosen to live here as there is still some access to open land. What it does need is more GP surgeries and school places, not more houses and a monstrous and dangerous road that will ruin the area forever.

By Mel

The wildlife of this country is on its knees, yet you choose to ignore this for the sake of building houses for profit and the expense of wildlife. And ecosystem decline. When will you realise that humans cannot exist without healthy ecosystem function which you want to destroy. Utter lunatics for the sake of greed.

By Jane White

There may be a requirement to ‘boost the housing supply’ in Oldham but do it on brownfield sites rather than damaging our open spaces for both the people and wildlife living there. The Saddleworth villages, roads, doctors, schools etc are already at capacity and they will no longer be villages if this type of thing continues. Surely profit and greed can’t prevail at a time when even the government have acknowledged an environmental emergency? I just hope there’s no corruption in the Oldham Council that would allow this to happen.

By Mrs Kershaw

Russell homes are arrogant builders who have dangled a big carrott in front of the planning department and both now feel they can ride roughshod over the residents of Springhead and Grotton.OPOL 12 is protected for a reason and RH have shown a complete disregard of this which speaks volumes.Save our OPOL.

By Alison

Dear Russell

Given I am a rural village local, please excuse my lack of knowledge and understanding. You state in your patronising message that most who oppose this development live in new build houses. This has me very confused. The reason why I am confused is that the developers RH have gone out of their way to mention about how little significant development has taken place in the area over several years. If that is the case, how is it that most of us according to your view live in new build houses? I wonder where they all came from. Anyway off for a walk in the rural area and then back to the village I live in.

By Max

@Mrs Kershae. Oldham Council don’t choose where to build because they neither build homes nor own housing land. They basically receive applications from house builders and must assess them based on housing policy which is set by central government.

If there is greed it’s displayed by private house builders. If there’s a lack of care for local communities it’s the fault of central government who set policy. Local councils like Oldham are obliged to follow the rules set for them; they have very little power.

By House nouse

Lots of complaints and rightly so- but I bet the houses will sell so whats the point- wont make any diffence, Fat cats getting fatter

By Anne

I have read with interest the comments posted regarding the proposal by Russell Homes for the housing development and the link road. It has become very apparent that any comment which supports the proposal has been questioned by some of the objectors -Why? Surely everyone has a right to voice their opinions without receiving a backlash from someone who does not agree with it. I do not see the supporters questioning any of the objectors comments. For heaven sake say what you have to say and leave it at that. Bullying and intimidating objectors comes to mind!!!

By An observer

If only we could bottle the NIMBY tears in this section, we would solve africa’s water shortage.

By Anonymous

By an Observer – the reason why people are shooting down the supporters of this housing scheme is because their arguments don’t stack up. They state regeneration, economic boost for the area. First, homeowners around here are very good at upkeeping their properties and indeed improving them all the time. Second as I said previously how can there be an economic boost there is no manufacturing or other productive businesses proposed over the longer term just a block of houses on a well used local green open space. I’m sorry you feel my opinion is oppressive or bullying but let’s have some qualification of these supposed benefits,
By anonymous……NIMBYS tears, how drole! I wonder where you live and if you would appreciate a block of unwanted housing over a beautiful green space after you have suffered years of new build housing estates shoe horned into every available space possible and the prospect of losing one of the only remaining walking spaces in open fresh air? It’s easy anonymously quoting NIMBY when it doesn’t actually affect you. Oh again sorry for any distress my comments might have caused, I wouldn’t want to sully the discussion by my opinion!

By Bernadette

Oldham council need to listen to their residents who have lived here for some years. Use up the many brown field sites available. The green belt leave it alone for the current families to enjoy. Stop building these ugly new buildings which are bought by people who rent them out, at inflated prices. Leave our countryside alone.

By Sabina Tongue

My objections to this development are based on the developers own admissions that the views and character of the area, along with the ways in which the area is used for recreation will change. Springhead, Lees and Grotton are already heavily developed and this little remaining open space is important for planning reasons, in that it prevents conurbations joining and also to provide area for recreation, quiet enjoyment and exercise – vitally important for the health and wellbeing of existing residents. In a densely developed and heavily populated area there is already considerable strain on services, a development of this size would exacerbate current problems. There is little parking in the area so the developers claims that residents would bring additional expenditure in to the area is unlikely, it is more likely that residents would drive out of the area causing extra traffic and air pollution. The extra expenditure the developers claim would be brought about is overstated as this assumes all residents would be new to the area, which is not the case. I object to the fact that OPOL 12 seems to be being used be the developers to make this development financially viable and profitable for themselves, protected land should remain so as it has been decided it should be protected by the council, and has been for many years. OMBC has a responsibility to existing residents in considering their health and wellbeing and should refuse the application as the impact on the community would be detri

By disgrace

Don’t worry folks, you have this in the bag now you have Boots Errocks on board. He will challenge anything and anybody and win !!!!

By Fan of Boots

Rest easy SAV you have this in the bag now you have taken Mr Boots Errock on board . This man will challenge anybody and anything and win. Russell Homes and OMBC planning committee will not know what has hit them. He is already Oldham Councils biggest headache !!!

By Boots fan

Can’t see how the infrastructure in the surrounding area could cope with the development on top of the loss of Greenfield land which is so valuable to the local community.

Extremely poor proposal given other areas for redevelopment

By Mike

The building of the homes wil lhave a negative impact not only on the immediate area but also from anybody traveling to and from from the Mumps are to Sadlleworth. Russel Homes say that there are good transport links. However this will not change peoople’s preferrred mode of travelling ie private car. The 265 homes with 2 + plus cars per household will have a negative effect on travelling times. Already at the top of Ashbrook Rd, it is difficult to get out to the main road as cars are already queing from there right down to Mumps at 7.45am. This will also have a negative effect on public transport and delays for buses.
The schools, doctors and dentists are already oversubscribed. The link road will become very busy and not easy for people to cross over the bridal path for jogging, walking their dogs, horse riding , cycling and taking young children to enjoy the area.
The £416, 000 Coincil Tax is not extra revenue as people will move from within Oldham, they could also be people claiming Ciuncil tax benefit and single person discount. the bottle neck that is mentioned would not be adressed, it just moves one problem to another.
The jobs created for 7 years is only short term and would be created if Russel Homes were to build on any site. The long term effect – loss of OPAL land will be devestating and detrimental to the area and can not be undone

By Mrs Jamieson

I have just finished reading the proposed plans for the housing development and have to say I am really impressed with Russell Homes. Very good plans and this has my backing, I hope it receives approval from the planning committee.

By Mr Wrigley

If you tip your head to one side, the site plan looks like a cartoon mouse!
Adds nothing to the discussion whatsoever, but I think it needed to be said.

By Obscure observer

What a disgraceful decision, yet more cars on the roads, a failure by some shoddy house builder to consult with local people and more land lost. Why can they not regenerate empty buildings and build on brown field sites? Makes you wonder how many perks these council planners get from the house builders because they certainly are not approving developments for the good of the local people, who already live here and suffer commuter misery on a daily basis. Absolutely livid they have approved this today.

By Helen Riley-Ditchfield

Who the hell is this ‘Boots’ fellow ! He seems to have completely taken over all the hard work the Save our Valley group has undertaken and is now acting as though he is leading the campaign ! Is he not in the building and construction field? I am beginning to wonder what his ulterior motives are or is he just building on his ego . He was not involved at the beginning of all this and was not even at the committee meeting on the 1st July !! Food for thought .

By Lees resident

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