Controversial plans for huge housing estate next to popular Greater Manchester beauty spot

The 300 new homes would be sited on green belt land.

A developer has revealed plans to build 300 new homes on green belt land next to a popular Greater Manchester beauty spot.

Bloor Homes has drawn up early proposals for an ‘attractive and vibrant’ neighbourhood bordering Hollingworth Lake, in Littleborough, Rochdale.

The 50-acre site – bound by Lake Bank, Hollingworth Road and Rochdale Canal – is included in the region’s controversial Places for Everyone development plan submitted to the government for approval in February.

Dubbed ‘Land North of Smithy Bridge’, Bloor Homes says the development presents ‘an excellent opportunity to deliver a high quality housing scheme’  in an attractive setting.

Aerial view of Littleborough, in Rochdale - (c) Mike PenningtonAerial view of Littleborough, in Rochdale - (c) Mike Pennington
Aerial view of Littleborough, in Rochdale - (c) Mike Pennington

But the emerging proposals – seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service – have not met with a warm welcome from everyone after a presentation was shared with local people and community groups.

Littleborough Civic Trust – formed more than 50 years ago to protect the town’s heritage – has already attacked the plans on its Facebook page.

The charity said: “If this and all the other proposed sites go through, there will be massive and devastating consequences for the whole area.

“Within the document there are many flaws, even to the extent of Hollingworth Road being called Hollington Road – a clear indication and yet another example of outsider involvement by people who have never been to Littleborough.”

As well as a mix of around 300 homes ‘to meet future housing needs’, Bloor’s vision for the site also includes a new visitors’ car park at the lake, a ‘high quality network of public open space’ and walking and cycling infrastructure.

Described as a ‘walkable neighbourhood’, the developer says the ‘landscape-led’ scheme would also feature welcoming community facilities and  link to the canal, lake and country park.

However, the firm acknowledges within the document that ‘further work is required to develop detailed designs that ensure the new neighbourhood is a memorable and distinctive place to live’.

What has Bloor said?

Kate McClean, planning director for Bloor Homes North West, said: “Bloor Homes proposals at Hollingworth Road, Littleborough are at a very early stage. 

“To ensure any development meets the needs of the local community we have recently started engaging with key stakeholders as our proposals evolve from a conceptual to a detailed design stage. “

She added: “The development opportunity already has a draft allocation in the draft ‘Places for Everyone’ Plan and we propose to time our submission to coincide with the adoption of the ‘Places for Everyone’ plan.”

In summary, the presentation document adds: “The site provides an excellent opportunity to deliver a high quality housing scheme and associated facilities which maximise the potential of this sustainable location. 

“Located in an attractive setting adjacent to Hollingworth Lake and Rochdale Canal, the site provides an opportunity to deliver a landscape led development which complements its Pennine fringe setting and takes account of views from and into the site.”

Places for Everyone is a long-term plan of nine Greater Manchester districts (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) which will determine the kind of development that takes place in those boroughs.

It was submitted for independent examination by the Planning Inspectorate in February this year, and local leaders are still awaiting a decision.

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