The disposal of a council-owned site fronting Manchester Road is in the offing after the authority’s development partner Watkin Jones failed to bring forward a scheme there.
The Lock Keepers site in Droylsden was included in a development agreement with Watkin Jones, signed in 2005, but has now been removed. The agreement sought to facilitate the redevelopment of Droylsden’s canal quarter, south of Manchester Road, including the creation of a marina on the Ashton Canal.
Since the agreement was signed, Watkin Jones has delivered more than 100 homes, as well as the marina. However, the Lock Keepers site has remained untouched and the council is now looking to sell it to another developer in an attempt to see the plot transformed.
The two-acre Lock Keepers site was originally earmarked for a commercial scheme under the agreement with Watkin Jones but Tameside is now looking to unlock it for “a high-density residential development”, according to a report to Tameside’s cabinet.
Watkin Jones offered to pay the council £400,000 for the site but the authority has valued the land at £1m, the report added.
Now the site has been removed from the initial agreement, the council plans to enter into negotiations with Watkin Jones to acquire two small plots fronting the marina that the developer owns.
Tameside said it would be “advantageous but not essential” to have control of the two smaller sites, as ownership would allow for the expansion of the Lock Keepers site.
The site could be enlarged further once the library, which also fronts Manchester Road, is demolished.
The council agreed to relocate Droylsden’s library services at a meeting in February.
A spokesperson for Watkin Jones said: “We are surprised and disappointed that Tameside Council has announced this without talking to or engaging with us, especially given our regular and ongoing discussions to progress a planning consent for this site.
“We have successfully delivered over 230 homes in Tameside and are fully committed to delivering further new affordable homes within the borough. We have again today spoken to the council and will continue our discussions with them.”