By Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
CONTROVERSIAL plans to massively expand a business park into the green belt, which will massively impact Denton, have been revealed by a developer.Commercial property giant Quorum has submitted outline plans for a 1.25m sq ft extension of Bredbury Industrial Estate into the Tame Valley at the border of Stockport and Tameside.
Dubbed Bredbury Gateway, it would boast 18 units for general industrial, storage and distribution use, with 10,000 sq ft earmarked for retail and leisure purposes.
The proposals also include widening Bredbury Parkway and the relocation of its junction with Ashton Road as well as a new car park to serve Stockport Sports Village.
Vehicle access is proposed to be via a new access point to the north of the site.
The firm says the huge complex is aimed at ‘fast-growing industrial sectors’ and would create more than 2,000 skilled jobs once it is complete.
But the application has provoked a furious backlash from green belt campaigners – despite bosses promising to ‘integrate the scheme into the existing landscape setting to lessen the impact on the landscape character and wildlife habitats’.
Protests have been led by Andrew Gwynne MP, whose Denton and Reddish constituency straddles both of the affected boroughs.Describing his “anger and bewilderment” at the proposals he said: “The Tame Valley is precious to the people who live around it and it’s not up for grabs.
“This development would destroy the ambience of the neighbouring Hulme’s Wood and Haughton Dale Nature Reserves, and it would alter the openness of the valley forever.
“Worse, it would pile additional HGV traffic onto the A6017 Stockport Road as the low railway bridge at Bredbury prevents large-sided vehicles to access the M60 at junction 25.”
He continued: “Added to all of this, the latest planning data for Greater Manchester shows there’s an oversupply of land for new industrial development.
“As such, there’s absolutely no case for the land at Bredbury to be taken. I would urge everyone to submit an objection to the plans to Stockport council.”
His comments were echoed by Denton South councillors George Newton, Claire Reid and Jack Naylor who described plans to build on “our precious Tame Valley” as “totally unacceptable”.
In a joint statement, they added: “The environmental impact on our Tame Valley and nature reserve would be catastrophic, and the proposal could mean an additional 2,000 HGVs a month travelling through Denton South. We are committed to fighting this every step of the way.”
On the Stockport side of the border, Bredbury and Woodley ward councillor Stuart Corris also spoke of his concerns over the development.
He said: “It’s not just a question of Bredbury Gateway, it’s a question of what else they are putting in the area as well, bearing in mind we’ve got the directive regarding clean air and already have Stockport Road and Woodley Precinct flagged as one of the hotspots, and further down their vehicle movements are going to add to that, that’s my concern.”
Cllr Corris added that Quorum would also have to prove there were “very special circumstances” for building on the green belt, as per planning rules.
But Paul Cook, director of Quorum, said the plans represented “a massive opportunity for Stockport to grow its economy” while protecting and creating jobs for local people.He added: “Further, this is an opportunity for the borough to deliver a high-quality logistics and manufacturing park, something it has not been able to do during the last 10 years. This is a sector which has experienced significant expansion throughout the UK and Europe.
“Our planning application has been carefully considered, and the proposed off-site works will offer considerable improvements to the local highways network, along with pedestrian and cycle links to surrounding areas.
“The ongoing regeneration of surrounding areas, such as Brinnington, will be enhanced by Bredbury Gateway due to the easily accessible new jobs it will deliver. With this in mind, we believe that Bredbury Gateway will provide the final part of that jigsaw.”
The planning application is expected to be determined by Stockport Council before the end of the year.
People can submit their comments formally, quoting the planning application reference: DC/074399:
• By post: Stockport MBC, Planning Services, Stopford House, Piccadilly, Stockport SK1 3XE
• Online: http://planning.stockport.gov.uk/PlanningData-live/