More than 3,400 objections have been submitted against plans to build the controversial Godley Green ‘garden village’.
Proposals to build thousands of homes on green belt land in Hyde were lodged in November, and open to public comments from the beginning of December.
The deadline for public comments on the planning application has now closed with a total of 3,503 residents having their say.
There have been a huge 3,471 objections against the proposals, compared to just 21 supporting letters.
Under the plans up to 2,150 homes would be built to the north of Mottram Old Road, as well as ‘local centres’ which would include up to 1,300 sq m of retail, 1,600 sq m of commercial uses and 1,000 sq m of local community uses.
Why are people objecting?
A petition against the garden village which raises concern about the loss of the countryside and recreation space, lack of transport and education infrastructure and the impact on roads has also gained 4,400 signatures.
Signing the petition, one person said: “This is greenbelt land and once it’s gone it’s gone. We need to preserve these unique places for future generations and stop urban sprawl.
“This will also warm up the area causing further climate implications along with poorer drainage in heavy rain.”
Chiefs say the project is being developed under the principles of garden cities championed by Ebenezer Howard more than a century ago.
The scheme for the green belt land, first mooted under the original Greater Manchester Spatial Framework proposals, is progressing despite the region’s current masterplan ‘places for everyone’ yet to be approved by the Secretary of State.
What’s been said in response?
Tameside Council says that meeting its housing target over the next 17 years would be ‘entirely unrealistic’ without developing the land at Godley Green.
Coun Ged Cooney, who is the town hall’s lead on the project, said: “The fact of the matter is that we have no option but to build more homes in Tameside, and Godley Green is the best place for them.
“Instead of a piecemeal approach having to use greenspaces dotted around the borough, it provides a unique opportunity in one location that already has strong transport connections and neighbouring services and facilities.
“However, as I’ve continually stressed, we’re not looking to throw up some sort of anonymous concrete estate. We want to create a landscape-led settlement that integrates fully with existing communities and the countryside.
“I believe the development provides the best answer to the challenges and obligations Tameside faces. When people look at the plans, I’m confident they would agree with me.”
He added they are aiming for the development to be carbon neutral, and there would be ‘vast’ new green infrastruture for walking, cycling and riding.
Under the plans there will be a new one-form primary school created, sports facilities on land to the south of Mottram Old Road, and a bridge to Hattersley station that will provide a ‘direct link’ to the rail network.
The properties will be split across two villages divided by Godley Brook, with 1,250 dwellings in the west and 900 homes in the east of the site.
According to the planning application, construction would take place over a 15 year period, with 102 homes intended to be delivered within 2022/23.
Road access is proposed to be created from four new entrance points from Mottram Old Road, which would to be reduced to 30 mph to accommodate the new traffic and turnings.
If approved the huge development would generate £9m in income for the council, chiefs say.
Homes England has supported the project with a £10m grant, which would have a minimum of 15pc affordable housing provision.
What is next?
A final decision by the planning committee is not due until the summer, according to the local authority.
However exploratory ground works, ecology surveys, land assembly and consultation with utility companies are already being carried out, and the council is working to find a developer partner to begin building work if planning permission is granted.
But even if the plans are approved by the council’s planning committee, they will then go to the Secretary of State who will make the final decision on whether to allow it to go ahead.