Developers plan nearly 300 new homes for ‘protected open land’ in Greater Manchester village

The site is classed as ‘protected open land’ by the local council - and a previous application met with more than 600 objections.

Plans for nearly 300 new homes across two sites in a Greater Manchester village have been tabled by developers.

The largest of the two Littleborough schemes is Taylor Wimpey’s controversial proposal to build 199 houses on fields to the west of Smithy Bridge Road. The property firm says it wants to create a ‘high-quality residential neighbourhood’ at the site, which is included as ‘Roch Valley’ in the region’s contentious ‘Places for Everyone’ housing plan.

While the 35-acre plot does not lie within the green belt, it is classed as ‘protected open land’ by the council.

A previous application met with more than 600 objections, leading the housebuilder to consult residents on an ‘updated’ set of proposals earlier in the year. Locals were promised ‘high-quality homes’ and a number of associated benefits.

New plans submitted this week reveal that the estate will include a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes, all available at market prices. However, no affordable or social housing is included in the scheme. Other key elements of the proposals include the first phase of a residential relief road – which would connect Smithy Bridge Road with Albert Royds Street – as well as new public space, gardens and landscaping.

Vehicles would enter the estate via Smithy Bridge Road, with cycle and pedestrian access from Brooklyn Avenue.

A document submitted in support of the application reads: “A high-quality residential development is proposed, tailored to its context, respecting the latest in good design principles, adhering to local policy and with a significant proportion of the site dedicated to accessible green space.”

Smithy Bridge proposed development (Roch Valley) Street Scene. Credit: Taylor Wimpey

Meanwhile, Russell Homes has also submitted proposals for 63 new homes on land to the west of New Street.

The developer wants to build 62 properties on the nine-acre plot, including a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses – 10 of which are either social or affordable housing.

In September, the council agreed the ‘principle’ of selling the protected land to Russell Homes. The housebuilder is close to completing its neighbouring ‘Stubley Meadows’ scheme –  to the east of New Street – and bosses felt the move would help ‘deliver a comprehensive, rather than piecemeal, development’.

This was not without controversy, however,  as local councillors and residents passionately opposed the move, citing loss of green space, existing traffic problems and an increased strain on public services.

Russell Homes says its new plans will ‘focus on providing attractive high-quality and sustainable family houses’.

Papers submitted by the firm add: “The development proposed will deliver 62 dwellings on a site which is in a logical location for residential development and would form a natural and harmonious extension to the settlement.

“The proposals will also deliver affordable housing which aligns with the councils’ requirements, therefore, providing a valuable contribution to achieving a more balanced choice of housing within the borough.”

The developer also says its proposals will retain vegetation wherever possible, while a ‘comprehensive landscaping strategy’ will provide an area of informal open space for residents’ enjoyment.

Other schemes in the pipeline for Littleborough include Bloor Homes’ plans  for 500 homes near Hollingworth Lake and  Vistry Partnerships’ proposed 127-home development at the former Akzo Nobel site.