South Heywood masterplan moves forward

The delivery of a link road, 1,000 homes and more than 1.5m sq ft of employment space at junction 19 of the M62 can go ahead following completion of negotiations between developer Russell Homes and Rochdale Council.

The application was approved by the council’s planning committee in 2018, subject to the completion of a section 106 agreement, which has now been signed.

At the time of the consent, the proposals in the Green Belt attracted criticism, with more than 280 letters of objection received. Rochdale’s officers, however, said the project would bring benefits of substantial scale outweighing the harm done.

The council estimates the scheme will be worth £175m a year to the local economy once complete, and will create 2,800 jobs.

The section 106 agreement means that Russell will contribute £4.6m and land for a primary school, 15% affordable homes, public open space, including a multi-use games area and sports pitches, and a cash contribution to improve facilities at Heywood Sports village.

There will also be £1.8m put towards the creation of a bus route, bus stops, and cycle and walking routes throughout the area.

The scheme is the first development to come forward as part of the Northern Gateway site, which goes across Bury and Rochdale, and aims to create housing and employment along the M62 corridor to rebalance the economy of Greater Manchester. The land is allocated within the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, and if developed, would be the biggest employment site in the region, bringing 12m sq ft of employment space, around 10,000 new jobs and up to 3,900 homes.

Cllr John Blundell, cabinet member for business, skills and regeneration at Rochdale Council, said: “This development will unlock millions of pounds of investment for our borough and kickstart the crucial Northern Gateway project, which, if it goes forward, will create the biggest opportunity site in greater Manchester within our borough. We are confident this site will attract significant interest from major companies who are looking to invest here and create thousands of new jobs and homes.”

Tenders have been received for building the road and a main contractor is expected to be appointed within the next two months, with plans to start on site towards the end of summer.

The road and employment space is expected to be complete in 2022, with the entire project due for completion by 2035.

The project is being funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Highways England and the private sector.

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